'Azzun 'Atma, Wed 15.7.09, Morning
07:00 A dense crowd is at the gate of about 70 Palestinians with permits to work in settlements. A single soldier conducts the inspection. People approach him one by one, hand him their ID card and permit. He checks and lets them through. A female soldier is busy letting two children from the isolated houses into ‘Azzun ‘Atma.
The Palestinian workers come out, complaining that they’ve been in line for about half an hour. They say that entry through the lower gate is quick today, but here it’s slow. They say it’s like that every day – sometimes entry from the West Bank to ‘Azzun ‘Atma through the lower gate is slow, and sometimes the exit from ‘Azzun ‘Atma to the seam area is slow.
07:10 The female soldier has finished letting the children in, and also comes over to carry out inspections. We chose a man wearing orange to time how long it takes to go through. A woman stands off to the side near the gate. The soldier asks why she doesn’t go through with the workers. They explain that she’s not permitted to stand with the men. The soldier relents, goes to the tent and gets a key. He lets the woman in. Finishes, returns the key to its place in the tent. Five minutes later, another woman. The soldier lets the female soldier continue inspecting the men, gets the key from the tent, opens the gate, lets the woman in and returns the key to the tent. Why doesn’t he keep it in his pocket? There must be order!
07:30 The man we timed went through – he waited in line for 20 minutes!
The workers wait for their employers on the other side of the road. Their cars arrive from Ganei Tikvah and from Oranit. Each contractor picks up his workers.