'Azzun, 'Azzun 'Atma, Habla, Thu 24.6.10, Afternoon
A local man explains how to reach Siniriya via Tulth and then through Bet Amin to Azzun Atma’s northern checkpoint. All the installations are still in place; no soldiers. No settlements along the way, nor any military vehicles. We drove through the village until we arrived at
16:45 to the Palestinian side of the southern Azzun Atma checkpoint, and wanted to go through. The male and female soldiers at the checkpoint, which is closed to vehicles (except for Palestinians with a permit for their vehicles), wonder how we got here. They say we passed through a closed military area. Moreover, says the female soldier, they drive there only in armored vehicles.
We’re interrogated regarding our activities. Did we speak to any residents of the places through which we drove. While we’re standing there, Palestinians on foot return through the revolving gates. After a series of phone calls, the gate is opened for us. Maybe they were afraid to send us on without protection.
From Route 5 we turned north onto Route 444.
17:15 Habla agricultural gate.
11 Palestinians standing at the gate. We ask them why; “Waiting our turn,” they reply. As if there was nothing more natural that to wait and be inspected. The wait lasts 13 minutes. A Palestinian shepherd comes from Habla in a wagon to milk his goats and bring the milk to his family; he’s in a very good spirits. “The weather’s good today. The soldiers are also in a good mood. A lucky day! I’ve the best job in the world. The oldest job in the world. The same job our father Abraham did. You’re alone in the fields. With no people. No problems. Thank God. Blessed be our father, Abraham.” His words are confirmed by another waiting Palestinian: “Yes, today the soldiers are ok.” A flock of sheep is being driven toward Habla. A few more people go through.
17:45 We left.