'Azzun 'Atma, Thu 25.9.08, Afternoon

Observers: 
Irit S. Dafna B. Guest Keren K. (ActiveStills); Natanya translating
Sep-25-2008
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Afternoon

Azun-Atmeh

We
went by car in into the village and came to the checkpoint (the gate of
the fence between Azun Atmeh and the West Bank.

15.50 When we got there
there were no lines or detaineesinfo-icon. On the other side were two cars so
the passers by told us.

Two
women and a chld dressed in holiday best came through on foot because
the car that had brought them was not allowed to pass. Now they stand
and wait for some one to pass by and take them to the village. The fact
that if they take a taxi it will cost them more forces them to depend
on the goodwill of others and the spirit of Ramadan. Few cars pass here
and only after a quarter of an hour does someone pick them up. People
return from work …less than usual. It seems that in Ramadan whoever can
allow himself to do so does not go to work in Israel. Some 10s of
people do, those who have permits or are marked down as residents of
Azun pass through. Others are sent to the shed of the detainees.

The
delay is about 10 minutes long at the end of which one of the soldiers
or the commander give them a lecture after standing them in line. Now
the workers who have returned after a long and tiring day and who are
fasting are told to stand with their backs to the checkpoint and not to
speak and to stand facing the cement wall. Another small humiliations
on the way home.

One
group say that a week ago on Thursday one of the men who looks like a
boy and who did not have a permit got into an altercation with a
soldier and was beaten. The man himself told us that this was so and
described the soldier as a ginger head with a beard.

A
resident of Azun said that a few days ago at 6.00 a soldier had
demanded from one of the drivers whose name he gave me to go and bring
him something to drink and cigarettes. When the man refused the
soldiers closed the checkpoint for half an hour. The man said that
because of that he was half an hour late for work (at one of the
settlements).

Another
said that his sister had married two years ago and now lives in Bahala.
Since then she has not visited her parents' home in Azun  because she
is no longer a resident of the area.

Another
who has worked for 26 years at the factory of "Bagel and bagel" had
worked previously at a factory in Holon. But since the factory moved to
Barkan he is working at the former. He works shifts from 10 am to 10 pm
but when he gets home he is dependent on the good will of the soldiers
as to whether he can pass. It often happens that he is forced to spend
the night under the stars. He cannot get there earlier because the
transport is meant for the general workers. The soldiers who saw the
man speaking to us came nearer and sent him away and one soldier, tall
and with a kipa scolded him for talking to us.

Another
said to us that in the olive season he was not allowed to get to his
fields because they are on the other side of the fence. We told him to
speak to Hagar.

The
entire period were about 5-6 cars waiting to enter Azun  and from the
side of the fence there were the same amount and when the traffic was
allowed to pass through the line emptied. All the information on what
was happening on the other side reached us through the Palestinians. We
did not go to the other side or go up to the soldiers so as to prevent
the checkpoint being closed.

At
the end of the checkpoint a female sergeant came up to speak to us. Not
to argue. She of course gave us the sentences which she heard from the
commander but she was ready to listen to us.  We asked her if she knew
where she was as she kept saying that the Palestinians were crossing
into Israel. She said that on her side it was a blue area and on the
other red. So the army tries to bypass the fact of the occupations  and
the necessity of using the correct terms….Israel, the green line, the
border, Israeli area, Palestinian area.  And let us not use the vulgar
word "occupation."  I have heard these descriptions from other
soldiers.  How easy and simple, there is a blue side and a green side
and by coincidence there are human beings living there but that has no
meaning and by chance there is occupation but that has no connection.
We do not have to bring politics into this.  A GAME OF COLOURS.  Clean,
sterileinfo-icon and elegant.

17.50 We left.