'Anabta, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Jubara (Kafriat), Te'enim Crossing, Sun 12.9.10, Morning
Habla 06:45 - the main gate is still closed, maybe we were too early. 06:50 - the first 5 people leave the inspection. Behind the inner gate there are about 50 people waiting; less than usual. Every 5 minutes, another 5 people go through; we are thrown out of the main gate area and stand behind it.
07:30 There are no workers in the big cage. Israel has declared a "closure".
- 5 07:35tractors and a donkey with its rider are waiting. This is an opportunity to talk and ask questions. The Swiss ecumenical priest whom we have met in the past is there. One of the farmers tells us how permits are given to each family allowing a certain number to go out and work on their land. The teacher, Bassam, will leave tomorrow to go to work in his school but there won't be anyone to take his place on his land since no one else in his family received a permit. There are saws on the carts pulled behind the tractors. The ration of water allowed is so small that it is impossible to irrigate the citrus trees. They need the water for the vegetables, so they have to cut down the citrus.
08:10 - A truck full of garbage is pulled by a tractor, but is not allowed through. It seems that its owner has a permit, but only to Jayyus, where the gate will close in another 5 minutes. The military policewoman surprises us with her desire to help and suggests telephoning the officer in charge to ask for a special one time gesture to let him through. However, it then turns out that his permit is not for a tractor. The soldier claims that they don't usually check this detail, but the military police do. Meanwhile, after he has given up the possibility of passing through, he called his son, who has a permit to Falamya, asking him to come from the village and take the tractor in. The son enters with the tractor and the garbage, and the father stays behind. I asked the father why he didn't go to Jayyus (as written on the permit). He answered that in Jayyus they don't allow him to go through with the tractor. What harassment for a man who just wants to work on his legal land. The distance between Jayyus and Falamya is altogether 1 kilometer. Why do they need different permits? And why, in the same family, they received 2 permits for 2 different gates? And then we met the family of Mahmud and his friendly wife. Only he and his wife are permitted to go onto their land. They returned from a visit to their plot with pails full of guava. Their son waited for them on the other side of the fence to take them in his car to the village. He has 7 children. All of his 4 sons are not permitted to go out to their fields since one of them, when he was a child in 1994, took part in stone throwing. He was brought to trial and punished - but that is not enough. Every time that they go back and ask for an exit permit, they are denied and given strong hints that, if they are willing to cooperate with the GSS, it would help them a lot. This same son, who once sat in jail, needed a work permit for his job in Israel, and received one for a month. But there are no permits for him to work his land.
09:20 - the "Childrens'" gate. We arrived there via the village of Tzur. One woman passed through. One car entered. Quiet. How we got lost and wandered around Tulkarm and ‘Anabta. We tried to go from the Jubarra checkpoint to that at Anabta, according to directions we had received from our new friends in Falamya. We didn't find any other road than the paved one which leads straight into
Tulkarm. There we found a bus driver named Ziad, from Akraba, who happens to be a friend of Nadim's son. He suggested that, for 20 NIS, he would drive a taxi (with a family already in it) in front of us up to the road which leaves Tulkarm in the direction of ‘Anabta. We agreed and, in this way, we passed through the southeastern part of the city, where one Palestinian policeman stood in astonishment with his weapon in the central square and stared at us. We parted from the taxi driver and continued, according to his directions, on the road to the southeast. We passed ‘Anabta, where people also were looking at us in surprise. Only after a rather long trip, longer than what we had expected, we breathed more easily when we saw the checkpoint of ‘Anabta in the distance.
10:00 - No one looked at us there. We didn't see any soldiers at our fast exit. Only then did our driver admit that, during the whole trip in both of the cities, he was very tense until he saw the checkpoint on the other side, where he felt that he had returned "home".
10:05 - 5 cars waiting, we passed through.