'Anabta, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Jit, Ras 'Atiya, Te'enim Crossing, Mon 22.3.10, Morning

Observers: 
Frances T., Ronny S. (reporting) Translator: Charles K.
22/03/2010
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Morning

Summary

The new crossing to the Ras Atiya enclave is almost ready.  It is marked by total indifference to conditions on the ground and to those who’ll have to use it daily – the Palestinians.

Both gatesinfo-icon and the security road between them are located on a narrow, very steep road, which will lead to traffic jams and long lines.  The crossing “as if” gives access to Israel, so inspections will be rigorous, which will also make crossing difficult.  The Bedouin remain on the other side of the fence, but their children attend a school inside the enclave, and they’ll also have to go through this gate every day. 

6:35  Ras Atiya

The gate opened on time, and there was no line when we arrived.  We were told that the teachers and pupils don’t have to go through the magnemometer. 

7:05  Habla agricultural crossing.

The crossing used to open at 6:30.  In recent weeks, the army decided arbitrarily to open it only at 6:45, which makes it hard on those going through.  Often it opens even later.

Today it opened only at 7:00.  When we arrived, 50 laborers were waiting, and only 10 went through by 7:10.  One person inspecting…horse carts, trucks, tractor and many laborers angry and pushing.  An owner of a plant nursery tries to impose order, to talk to the checkpoint commander and also to those waiting, so they’ll stay in line.

7:45  Still more than 30 laborers on line, many arguments, crossing is slow, with breaks between groups.

The owner of the nursery who has more than 20 workers says that he pays them from 7:00 AM even though they arrive at work only much later.

Another says that 12 workers are already waiting for him at the nursery, as well as young shoots he has to plant today as quickly as possible, and he’s only now going through even though he’s been waiting since 5:45 AM !!.

8:00  We leave, and 20 people are still waiting.

Absolute despair… 

8:10  Eliyahu crossing – no laborers waiting. 

Roadworks between Funduq and Kedumim, and a long line of cars as a result.

No signs of life at Shvut Ami and on the hills opposite.

A Hummer, soldiers alongside, is parked at the entrance to Jit.

Jit junction is open, but a Hummer is parked on the side there as well.

A Border Police jeep at the turn to Nablus randomly stops a taxi.  On our way back there was no Hummer parked at the new turn to Shavei Shomron…

New signs, in Hebrew:  To Jenin and Shchem.

The barrels checkpoint is empty. 

9:00  Deir Sharaf

We drive on Route 60 past Shavei Shomron towards Jenin to see how advanced the paving operation is, despite the sign reading, “No entry, roadworks.”  Because we don’t see anyone working…  We reach the checkpoint, and do see workers on the other side.  The owner of the bakery/grocery/café reports the road will open in another month.  The Palestinian Authority is doing the work, which is paid for by the European Union.  We break for coffee and cake… 

9:45  Anabta is open. 

Te’anim crossing

We go through, but wait for permission to go up to Jubara.  We ascend through the sleepy village and reach Gate 753/flowers/children, where there are big changes.  A large structure has been constructed that looks like those where inspections are carried out with a computer and a magnemometer or a scanner.  There are changes in the lanes to the gates and the entrance, and in general a lot of activity…  The soldiers are courteous but refuse, of course, to provide any information. 

I suggest that each shift that passes here enter the village and see what changes have occurred.

Our trunk is inspected when we leave, including lifting the trunk’s floor mat, because “we’re returning from the territories.”  The logic is unclear, but there’s no point in expecting logic… 

10:15  On the way home.