Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Te'enim Crossing, Tue 16.11.10, Afternoon
The plant nurseries that were always open when we came in the past are closed for the Eid el Adha holiday.
13:55 Habla gate (north) Gate 1393
The gate is closed. A sole tractor driver waits for it to open. He’s been waiting since 13:00 in vain. That he’s the only one there doesn’t improve his bleak mood. Karin phones the humanitarian office. A. says that Gate 1393 is closed. And the driver has to return home through Gate 947 (south Habla). But first we have to call the brigade headquarters at Efraim. There they say, contradicting the humanitarian office, that Gate 947 is also closed. Falamya gate is the only one open. It’s far away. And now, additional information – on the morning of the holiday no once crossed, so they decided not to open the gates at the appointed time. Karin reported to the officer that the tractor was allowed to cross in the morning (it isn’t likely he infiltrated into Israel riding the tractor). In response to this fact, the officer said he’ll talk to the crossings officer about it. Back to the humanitarian office. A. hears from us that the Efraim brigade headquarters knows nothing about crossing through Habla south. He’ll also contact the crossings officer (while we’re on hold for the humanitarian office they’re playing “Kama tov sheshavta habayita” [It’s so good you’re home]. But the tractor driver isn’t home yet.. A. tells us that at Efraim brigade headquarters they know nothing about closing the Habla gate. They tell us it will open at 17:00. I couldn’t ask the Palestinian (unfortunately, I don’t speak Arabic) if he had been informed ahead of time about when the gate opens.
14:55 Falamya gate
We drove through the village of Suron the way to Falamya. A local driver went out of his way to direct us; maybe he saw the flag. Falamya gate is open and no one is crossing. A friendly guard (a reservist) notes it’s quiet today. He wonders whether we’re not afraid to drive around in the (occupied) territories. We go through Kafr Jamal. A local taxi driver directs us to Kafr Asur. In response to our question, “Is it ok for us to be here?,” he smiles broadly: “Ahalan we-Sahalan!” (Welcome!) In Kafr Asur a cordial woman shows us the way to Beit Lid. She kisses us goodbye. Three guides who were happy to see us.
16:30 Efraim crossing
People celebrating the holiday who received permits to visit for Eid el Adha are being driven to their relatives’ homes in Israel. One family was embarrassed. Three of its members, from Tulkarm, were allowed to cross, but the mother is being delayed. They’ve been waiting for her two and a half hours. Her Israeli son says she has a permit. We go through the revolving gate. The guard roars at us to go back. When we ask why the woman is being delayed, he responds in these words: She’s being delayed for reasons of security. They’re allowed to detain her for no reason for three hours. She’s only been detained for two and a half hours, so we’re allowed to hold her half an hour longer. It’s all been documented, the guard announces. Karin calls the humanitarian office for the second time today. They’ll look into it. Meanwhile we inform the Efrayim brigade about the incident. Why did they give a permit, the son complains, if they don’t let her cross? Just to harass her? It would be better not to give a permit at all. What do they want to do, take her photograph? It makes no sense. Soon the permit, which is only valid for a short time anyway, will expire. At 20:00 they have to return to the (occupied) territories. The people from Tulkarm look anxiously at their watches. The food is getting cold, the invited guests are waiting, and the valuable, rare opportunity is slipping away. While Karin is talking to the humanitarian office the mother miraculously appears – 67 years old. Her face smooth and beaming, but she walks with difficulty. It’s hard to imagine her physically active. She parts from us very warmly. How little time is left to them to celebrate together.
A female soldier asks, “What’s new?” and inspects the trunk and looks inside the car. It isn’t clear why.