'Azzun, Habla, Wed 20.10.10, Morning

Observers: 
Nadim, Maya G-T., Amira I. (reporting)
20/10/2010
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Morning

Translator:  Charles K.

Habla 7:25

“Fi mushkela” (there are problems today), a female farmer riding a donkey cart called to us…About a hundred people crowded around Habla’s wretched agricultural gate.  Soldiers tried to push the gate closed, to control the crowd.  They allowed two adult Palestinians to organize the angry line.  They admitted men in groups of five for inspection in the checkpoint’s “rooms.” 

It was like that until 8:15.  The soldiers were late opening the gate today.

Angry men went through holding their belts.  “Is there any point to all this?” they asked us.

Me, to a soldier:  When did you open it today?

Soldier A:  “What difference does it make?”

Soldier B:  “What business is it of mine?”

When a donkey cart arrives, the donkey has priority.  Some of the young people are on bicycles.  They fly flags of “Real Madrid.”

8:20  Eliyahu crossing

Khirbet Nebi Elias, Azzun, Sir, Jayyus, Kafr Jamal

We drove through the villages.  The olive harvest is at its peak.  Families in the shade of ancient olive trees.  Men shake the branches, the olives fall onto plastic sheets.  Women collect the olives in sacks.  A carriage with a babyinfo-icon.  There weren’t any problems with settlers at the locations we passed.  A man at the Jayyus gas station told us that yesterday they opened the gate to the harvesters at 18:00 instead of 17:00, so people had to wait after they’d finished their work day.

I was reminded of the soldiers at the Habla checkpoint:  “What difference does it make?  What business is it of mine?”

We drove to the Falamya agricultural gate.

Soldiers with nothing to do were happy to see us.  Reservists, “pained to see the difficulties imposed on the farmers.”  “But there were four attempts this week by Palestinians to go over the fence, and then the entire battalion is awakened, called out and has to pursue them.  Maybe they’re planning an attack?  By the way – two of them were children who were caught and turned over to the police.”   “That’s why the gate opens late.”  Revenge?  Catching up on sleep?

We return via Azzun.

Today there’s a hamsin.

The high-rise buildings on the horizon along the coast are veiled in smog.