Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Wed 18.8.10, Afternoon
We went into Haris to talk to people and ask how things are going.
The stores were all closed, either due to Ramadan or due to the heavy heat.
We saw hardly anyone on the street, and didn't stop.
We went on from there to Biddya. There too, the city was mostly closed down and devoid of people. We met some (Sheroot) taxi drivers who had worked for years at Huwarrah CP., and whom Nadim knew well. They were waiting for passengers to come by; one driver explained that because of the holiday people had less money and the taxi drivers had very little work. In general the situation in Biddya was depressed; not the way it was in the good days when loads of Israelis came there to buy furniture. He noted that the present checkpoint by Nablus was no problem, he just wished that the soldiers at the checkpoint would let the cars through faster because of the heat.
But if the soldiers have no suspicions of the drivers then the traffic flows quickly.
The real problem is the settlers. Approximately twice a month, for the last few months, settlers have blocked the checkpoint with their bodies: they lie down on the road and don't allow the Palestinian vehicles to pass. In August this has happened already twice. The soldiers are completely apathetic, and don't disturb the actions of the settlers. They simply tell the Palestinian drivers that the road is "closed".
We passed through the Eliyahu Crossing and went on to Habla.
We arrived fifteen minutes before 17:00, the gate was open, but untill 17:00 they allowed no one to pass. We spoke to one of the men waiting there who had a problem of getting a permit and gave him the MachsomWatch card to call for help.
The workers stood in the heat and waited. The caravan, with one side open, was empty.
The people waited in the shade behind the caravan and not inside on the benches that were there for them. The benches are made of metal and were burning hot from the sun in the heat of August.
At 17:00 the workers began to go through the checkpoint 5 at a time; the passage went quite quickly.