'Azzun, 'Azzun 'Atma, Deir Ballut, Sun 6.6.10, Morning
Chana S. translating
8.00 We began on route 5 towards the southern checkpoint at Azzun Atme.
We got out of the car at the side of the road opposite the checkpoint. Under the fig tree there sat a group of men waiting for transport to work.
At the checkpoint itself a number of Palestinians wait to pass out of the village, passing one by one through the carousels to be checked.
At first the woman commander was hostile. But after a short conversation (in which we explained that our previous reports also contained positive remarks) she told us that they opened the checkpoint at 4.30.
She said also that passage at the northern checkpoint was free and if we entered there we could come out through the southern one.
We returned to route 5 and continued to the turnoff to 446 and southwards towards Beth Aryeh until the Deir Ballut junction. There are road works preparing a road to Deir Ballut. On both sides of the road are fields of cucumbers, onions and garlic. Women carry loads of these to a shed near the junction.
The women were friendly and offered us cucumbers. The man responsible for the fields tells us that he fears that after the road has been completed they will block this junction to Palestinians, as this road also serves settlers.
At the junction itself there is a sign that clearly denotes both the settlements and the Palestinain villages that the road leads to.
We returned north-east to Haris. The gate at the entrance is open so we wandered around the village.
The roads are in a very bad state, half the shops are closed.
Lots of children in the streets, some of them in school uniform.
We continued through Biddya, Mas'ha, Sanniriya and Beit Amin and reached the northern checkpoint of Azzun Atma. The checkpoint was open, without soldiers. We entered and crossed the village in order to exit the southern checkpoint. There we were refused passage, contrary to what we had been told.
As we insisted, the soldiers phoned for instructions. At the same time Nava tried to find out if there was indeed permission to pass. While waiting for an answer we sat with some locals who told us that soldiers regularly enter the village and ask to see documents. They even asked a 13 year-old for his and took him home to see his birth certificate. This morning the officer in charge wouldn’t let one of these men pass as she saw from a distance that he was holding a bag with electrical equipment.
One man said that a few days ago settlers from Sha'arei Tikvah threw stones at him. Another said that before they were surrounded by walls and fences there had not been problems with settlers.
We were not given permission to pass through this checkpoint and returned via azzun.