'Anabta, Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Wed 18.8.10, Afternoon
Summary Our starting point is the Green Line, Route 6. East of it we are well aware of notions about the land being "disputed," "colonized" or "separated." What is obvious on our tour are the combination of apartheid, military occupation and colonization in a manner that must be unique in the world! The upshot of the process of land acquisition and demographic engineering is a sorry spectacle on the one hand, a human tragedy on the other.
We arrive early at Gate 1393, firmly closed in the intense heat, as a dozen or more men sit on the bench, waiting, in the boiling hot ex container (from Zim shipping line, we wonder). The army arrives after 13:45, and then only two soldiers step from the Hummer as it hurries off into the hot dust of the Separation Barrier.
13:55 -- the gates have still not opened, and the soldier, on our complaining, says he cannot "open the gate on my own," that he is awaiting another three…
When they do come, another five minutes wait, as they work in excruciating slowness, while horse, donkey cart, tractor, bicycle and about 20 male workers take their place to get through the Separation Barrier. Just one woman -- a woman we know from Ras Atiya, since, once long ago, we were able to cross the Separation Barrier checkpoint there, (now no more) and join her in her home, to eat watermelon. Today, she still has her same job in Israel, she still pays 50 NIS a month for her work permit, good until the end of this year, but now she can no longer get near her village without coming through this gate and then taking a taxi from the other side all the way to Ras Atiya. She is but one example of the continuous political and economic control over the Palestinian people by the Occupier.
On our way deeper into the Seam Zone, we take a small tour alongside Alfe Menashe, the settlement which proudly boasts advertisements for new housing on the road leading up to it, close to the sadness and poverty of the Bedouin community a few meters away. Just before the barred entryway to the settlement is a lookout which portrays only too well how the contours of the land have been gouged out to create the Separation Barrier, a roadway below and the "Wall" -- as high as the wall in Jerusalem, as a soldier once boasted to us -- above. The way the Separation Barrier curves as it does is clearly to demarcate the growing settlement and its expansionist plans to swallow up what remains of the Seam Zone.
We drove to nablus CPs'
Traffic slows down as it crosses the intricate access point to Tulkarm, but there's not a soldier in sight.
A polite military policewoman speeds our way on to:
Many people hurrying, good naturedly, to the terminal building where, unbelievably, all eight counters are open to service the few returning workers on this horribly hot day. A man, carrying a standing fan, struggles to get through the narrow turnstile to the hall inside, saying, good naturedly, "Well, it would be better to have air conditioning, but meanwhile…" And only a few more hours to "iftar."