Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Ras 'Atiya, Mon 19.4.10, Afternoon

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Ptahya A., Riva B. Translation: Galia S.

Habla, Agricultural Gate 

15:15 – The gate is closed. The only person here, an old man who came back from work and has been waiting for half an hour already, will have to wait until 16:45 for the gate to open. 

Ras Atiya checkpoint 

15:30 – Two men from Dab'a whose car is inside the checkpoint are waiting. It turns out they have bought accessories for fixing a toilet and the soldiers demand that they have a permit of the DCO [District Coordination Office of the IDF Civil Administration that handles passage permits] to show that they may transfer the contents, all of which fits into a small car. We talk to the DCO officer on duty (following Grisha's advice), and when we talk to the soldiers, it turns out that the men do have a permit but only for transferring a toilet and not additional accessories like tiles, taps and sink. Such a "substantial" list of equipment deserves a special permission and coordination with the DCO. It takes another phone call to Tayasir, where they promise to take care of it. When we leave at 16:05, the permit hasn't arrived yet. We call again round 16:30 and find out that the car has passed. 

Eliyahu Passage 

16:20 – The passage is manned by soldiers as usual but otherwise the place is empty and quiet. A few cars with Israeli licence plates "return home", to the settlements. 

Habla Gate 

16:25 – The gate is half open when we get back there. The soldiers have just arrived. The man who was waiting here before is still here and there is another man with him, only one (there is no traffic of people due to the holiday and the "closureinfo-icon") [blanket restriction of passage regardless of permits]. The two waiting men tell us that now they are waiting for the blond woman soldier to arrive. When we ask the soldiers when the gate is supposed to open, they suggest that we call the Brigade to find out. 

The gate opens on time at 16:45. 

To sum up: It has been a short round. Holiday and closure. Few comings and goings at the gatesinfo-icon and the checkpoints. The few Palestinian residents we met wished us a happy holiday. Feeling embarrassed, we kept silent.