Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Jit, Qalqiliya, Te'enim Crossing, Tue 7.12.10, Afternoon
–Today is the Muslim New Year. No school.
We meet Maher and hear his story. He worked in Israel for years, was very dedicated and earned a decent living. Seven years ago his permit was taken away from him. No explanation was given while he was questioned. However, he was promised he would get it back if he collaborated with them. His cousin collaborated and was shot. Maher says he is not willing to inform on anyone. He has chosen to live. In the first years he didn't work, an Israeli acquaintance supported him.
Four horse-drawn carts are waiting to pass into the village. A Hummer and some soldiers are here but they haven't opened the gates yet. On the village side, five people and a truck are waiting behind the fence.
– The gates open. Things move in slow motion, but not many people are here. A truck leaves the village followed by the first five people to go through the inspection.
The first to pass into the village is an older man with a horse-drawn cart who owns a 00 permit that grants him inspection-free passage.
The first five people go in for the inspection and leave for the village. Within 15 minutes all the others – about 20 people – pass.
The soldiers are polite and graceful reservists.
– The traffic is flowing.
– We turn left toward Sufin.
14:25 – At the entrance to Qalqiliya there are 2 Hammer vehicles and a Border Police car. Cars that leave Qalqiliya are detained and cars with Israeli licence plates are also checked. At the entrance into Qalqiliya few cars are stopped. In spite of the checks the traffic is flowing freely. No jams.
We talk to cab drivers who are waiting for customers. They say that the soldiers arrived about half an hour ago and that they usually get here 3 times a week. The drivers claim that the policemen give them tickets arbitrarily. One of them was held up by a policeman and given a ticket ordering him to pay a fine of IS 500.00 because "the Hezbollah fired Katyusha rockets". Another got a speeding ticket for allegedly driving 80 mph when he was really driving 55 mph and the fine he had to pay was IS 1500.00.
15:00 – We continue to Sufin. We stop at the checkpoint where we are asked who we are going to see. We make up a name but checking the list of names of the village residents reveals thee is no suck name. The attempt being unsuccessful, we turn back.
Jit junction is unmanned.
We go to Deir Sharaf for a "coffee break" and have Knafe [an oriental cake] without coffee.
The passage is open. No delays. A coffee seller welcomes us with two big coffee pots.
The Figs Passage
We are asked to show documents.
Behind the turnstile, on the side of Tulkarm, three women and a man have been waiting for the gate to open for a long time. We decide to help and we talk to the guard at the entrance to the compound, who promises us to look into the matter. While waiting for them to come out, we are joined by a Palestinian from East Jerusalem who came to meet a friend. Half an hour later there is still no sign of them. We return to the back gate, but they are neither there nor at the exit. We call Wahal, the passage officer. No answer. We then call Tiyassir at the DCO [District Coordination Office of the IDF Civil Administration that handles passage permits] and he promises to check.
In the parking lot we see a Palestinian waiting for his wife.
We leave the place when there is still no sign of the four people.
17:10 – We hear from the Palestinian who has been waiting for his friend that they are leaving. For an hour and a half three women and a man who have permits have been detained behind the checkpoint unable to enter Israel. The question is – why?