'Azzun 'Atma, Sat 21.3.09, Morning

Hanah B., (reporter) Erica A. (guest) Translator: Orna B.


             Here there are 5 military vehicles of all sorts. Among them a Border Police jeep and a group of  about 20 soldiers, some of whom are reserve soldiers. The first Palestinians to go through the checkpoint are two residents of the house which is located on the south side of Route 505, by the marble workshop, and precisely opposite the checkpoint. They are on their way to the grocer's shop. One of them is carrying a two years old barefoot child. The soldiers demand that they identify themselves, although one can assume that these people frequent the grocer's shop quite often. After a short discussion they were allowed through and a few minutes later they return carrying bread and milk.  

             Meanwhile two reserve soldiers approached us. One spoke only French. They tried to find out if we deal with men who beat up their wives. We did not even try to answer – but suddenly the penny dropped for the Hebrew speaking one and he tried to give the "proper" explanation to the French guy. Now that the picture became clearer, we heard in French, which we understood only partially, who we are and what is our value. Meanwhile about 20 workmen gathered on their way to the marble workshop opposite us. They were all checked rigorously by a female soldier from the Border Police. Apart from one they all went through – although very slowly. The rest of the soldiers stood around, drinking cheerfully their morning coffee. The man who was refused permission to enter went back and a few minutes later returned with an older man who helped the female soldier look through the lists and the previously refused man went through. 

 We walked a bit from side to side in order to observe the checkpoint, when an officer approached us (a reserve soldier with a long pony tail) and introduced himself as Uriah. He is the deputy company commander of the company who will be serving here until the end of the month. 

 After a short conversation we got his telephone number (052 4580957) with a request that we call him any time we see anything out of the ordinary in the area. We told him of the article in the newspaper Voice of the City, and we did not get the impression that he was surprised. "Everything is possible". After about an hour the soldiers left the area and the remaining shift comprised of the female BP soldier and two 'bodyguards'.

Traffic is very thin, typical for Saturday. Even at the 'Agricultural' Checkpoint we met only one woman and an older man. In conversations with passersby we heard complaints about what goes on here during the rest of the week. The Occupation at its best!