'Azzun 'Atma, Wed 25.3.09, Morning
6.50 Near the factories the workers are waiting to go to their jobs in the settlements and in Israel. They complain bitterly about the new conditions. One says," When we were in jail...now at home we are in the same condition.
The residents on this side of the road refuse to take entry permits as a protest. They know that on Sunday it will get worse. A boy by the name of Abdullah sells coffee to them.
7.05 When we got close to the checkpoint, which was almost empty, a few people were still arriving. In front some workers are waiting for their employers in the nearby settlements: Shaarei Tikvah, Etz Ephraim, Nachal Rava (quarries), Ornit. One woman from Etz Ephraim is waiting for her employee and asks us politely what we are doing and it seems that even she understands the difficulties.
7.04 We spoke for a long time with the captain of the border police, G. who has been in charge of the passage since the morning and has been praised by the Palestinians for the way he does his job.
AND THIS IS THE EXPLANATION:
In the village 1500 residents are listed. Now there are 5700 because of the possibility of getting to work in Israel relatively easily. This is a security "hole" which has to be closed.
This coming Sunday only the following people will be allowed to pass:
The residents of the houses on the other side...we reckon about 70. (Convinced that they will adapt themselves and get permits)
The factory workers - there has already been a sorting out of the workers with their employers.
Workers who have permits from the Ministry of Labour to work in the settlements in the area (till 19.00). Not all those who had permits to enter Israel were allowed to do so and were sent unequivocally to Ayal. Added to that the area which is called the "embroidery of life" is now called "The envelope area" and so the problems of the farmers have become even worse.
7.30 Hain Amar, the owner of the encircled house at Masha, came to meet Micky as appointed at the checkpoint and told us of his work problems. Captain G., Wael of the DCO and sometimes the commander of the checkpoint sometimes participated in this discussion. He is responsible for working the pumps which serve the fields of the farmers. He says that he has to go in and out with no limitations so as to open and close the water supply. He therefore asks that the gate next to his home which leads to the pumps be left open all the time but the gate only opens three times a day. And besides that he has to get to the present gate of Azzun Atma which means taking a long way round and this is not logical.
It takes much gasoline (and he also does not have a correct permit for his car). There are another 10-12 farmers who have to get to their lands every day because of their crops. Others can make do with less frequent visits. He asks for his problem to be solved,
We get permission to take him to the second gate and speak to him on the roof of the pumps which are round the areas of Azzun Atma and Masha. The crops are vegetables, oranges, apples and olives. From here he phones the farmers (when the border police do not prevent him from doing so). And goes in to provide them with the water. We also see abandoned hothouses as their owners especially those from Masha are not allowed to enter. It is very clear that if the fence was put close to the road near Kfar Kassem and not in such a way which separates between the farmers and their lands this problem could be solved.
It would be advisable to check what is the situation of the court case concerning the fence. It seems to be stuck. In any case his wars were clear and stated to the ears of the representatives of the army and the DOC. We went back the way we had come on our way to Huwwara.