Deir Ballut, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Qalqiliya, Ras 'Atiya, Wed 19.5.10, Afternoon
The shift concentrated on areas near the green line and the separation barrier.
It seems that because of the closure there was little traffic between the villages as if it were Friday.
Report on existing checkpoints, old and new.
The exit from the village of Adik to the main road (continuation of road 446 in the direction of road 5). Because Palestinians are allowed to travel in this area it is not clear what the security reasons are for still blocking this exit while all the other barriers in the area have been taken down and Palestinians travel the road.
But if one looks on the map of the settlements all along the road, Peduel (a completely new settlement) , Bruchin, Alei-Zahav, at all of which one can see the continuous building it seems that the real reason is: to prevent the tractors going through to the area of olive groves and nurseries. Cars have no problem getting through Bruchin but for a tractor to travel 10-20 kilometres each day to the olive groves and back is a considerable expense.
The checkpoint of Deir Ballut on road 446 is not manned but also not taken down.
On the road north in the direction of Zawiya is a red sign stating that the area is area A (it should only be so). As we did not know about new Oslo agreements this is an incorrect sign.
The passage from the road which enters Ariel towards Salfit is still blocked even though there is a new sign there showing the way to Salfit.
The checkpoint at the entrance to Kifl-Haris is not manned but the sentry tower still stands thre and the iron gate as well.
The checkpoint south of the village of Azzun-Atma. The entrance is limited to people living west of the checkpoint. Also goods are limited. The commander is quite at ease in his role as the "economic superintendent" “Why should Arabs make a living? One has to give Israel the opportunity” so the corporal tell us.
A new fence has been built which joins the old fence near to the fork in the roads of Alfei-Menashe – Ras-Tirah , encompasses from the north and east Ras-Tirah and joins the existing fence south of Ras-Tirah.
The traffic from the villages which were in the enclave of Alfei-Menashe : Ras-Tirah, Dabah, part of the tribe of Wadi Rasha, to Qalqiliya and the villages in the area are free but a large amount of their lands still remain on the side of Alfei Menashe and can only be reached through two agricultural gates and is therefore access is limited.
The checkpoint at the exit and entrance south of Qalqiliya of the Palestinian security forces. The checkpoint of the Palestinian police is at the first exit, east of Qalqiliya.
The agricultural gate at Habla. This is the passage of the residents of Habla and Qalqiliya to their lands.The hours of opening in the evening are 16.45 to 17.45. IN winter the opening hours are later. So the IDF sees to it that they cannot work until late in the summer on their fields. Of course it is only the highest security reasons behind the decision of the army as to at what hour the gate should be opened.
The checkpoint at the Eliyahu crossing/gate 109 is active today even though there is a closure of workers entering Israel.
Checkpoint which have been taken down in the area in which we travelled:
The exit from the village of Bruqin to road 5, which goes on to road 446. The barricade was taken down during the olive harvest. The Palestinian road which was closed by a grey gate is now open to traffic.
The exit from Haris to the crossroads of Bruqin is open.
The checkpoint at Qarawat Bani Hassan which has not been manned for a long time, the gate if taken down but there are two big boulders of which one has no warning in the middle of the road.
The entrance to Azzun-Atma is open , the northern checkpoint is not manned, since the beginning of April . The buildings of the checkpoint are still present.
The fence south of the village of Dabah and Hirbet Ras and from the east to Ras Atiah, has been taken down.
The children ride on bicycles in the road. Others are breaking up pieces of iron on the side of the road . One boy holds a red sign in his hand which forbids touching the fence that once was there. Tractors are loading the barbed wire which the army left. Villages which were kept apart when the fence was put up are coming together again as it is taken down and people who were kept far from their lands even when these were next to their homes now can enter them as their owners.
But others who have now had their lands enclosed are very far from them.
The route taken:
Road 5, descent to the crossroads of Bruqin and travelling through the checkpoijnt of A-dik village as far as the checkpoint of Deir Ballut on road 446, returning in the direction of road 5, the entrance to Bruqin and travelling on the Palestinian road to Kif'l Haris, the continuation to Qarawat Bani Hassan, Bidiah, Saniriya, Beit Amin, Azzun-Atma. Entering the road to the village and continuing to the southern checkpoint. Back to the graove and continuing to Ras Atiah. Crossing the security road and gong on to the village of Dabah.
We looked over the fence which was taken down and the security road which is now an ordinary road. Back to the area which had been the checkpint of Ras-Atiah and along the former security road where the fence has been taken down until the place where the road is blocked by a part of the old fence which joins the new fence which encircles Hirbit Ras-Atiah. There is now an agricultural fence and we do not know if it is already working.
Back to the former security road and continuing along it to the north up to the place where the new fence meets the old one at the Habla enclave.
Looking over the agricultural gate which is at the fork in the roads where before one turned to Hirbit Aras from the Alfei Menashe road. Back to the old security road, corssing Ras Atiah and going on to the gate at Habla. The soldiers refuse to let us pass and we go back and come out through the southern neighborhood of Qalqiliya admiring the lanes and gardens of the roads of the city.