Habla, Tue 25.1.11, Morning
The gate opens at 07:00. A team of reservists are here. Ongoing restlessness is felt near the Palestinian gate. Three soldiers are standing nearby. One of the workers collects the documents and the rate of entering is reasonable.
Since there is no school because of the holiday, the schoolchildren buses don't arrive.
From way up we already observed a small truck and a few people that are waiting and not passing.
When we get there we are asked to help. The people here wish to get to their lands that are beyond the gate and although it says Jaiyus explicitly on their permits, the two soldiers (both of them reservists) refuse to let them pass, claiming they have to close the gate and move to another one in spite of the fact that it is not 08:00 yet.
We try hard to convince the soldiers that it's before 08:00 and there are only 5 people with permits who wish to pass, not a big crowd. They have to let them pass even if it's a short time past the hour, which it isn't. The argument goes on for a few minutes, during which they could put an end to the matter and let them pass in accordance with the instruction they have, but they chose callousness make up their own timetable and outrageously hurt the farmers, ruining their workday. We immediately call Tadesa but there is no answer there. We also call the DCO several times [District Coordination Office of the IDF Civil Administration that handles passage permits] but the calls are disconnected. In the mean time, the workers frustrated but having no choice, are gone. A frustrating experience for us too.
Later we find out that the reason for the unsuccessful calls is the serious failure in Bezek [the telephone company].
When captain Tadesa eventually returns our call on his cell phone, he confirms what we have tried to explain to the soldiers and promises to look into the matter. Having clarified the matter, he gets back to us quoting the two soldiers' commander who claimed that the time was 08:07, but this is simply a lie.
We ask the officer in charge of the passages, Tadesa, to clarify the point again and also to give the soldiers more explicit instructions that will prevent the recurrence of such senseless, hurtful incidents. What has happened this morning is irreversible, nor is it possible for us, witnessing the inequities of the occupation in the seam-line zone, to free ourselves of the oppressive feeling.
We try to get to the other gate, where the soldiers are supposed to be but, unfortunately, we get lost and cannot find the way out of the village.
Falama, gate 927
We come across a car with two people who wish to pass from gate 927 on the paved road to the hyssop plots to gate 911. Yesterday they were allowed to pass but the instruction today says they cannot. The explanation given is that there is somewhere a seasonal gate, opened for the olive pickers, while gate 927, where fewer people cross at different times is considered unsafe and therefore will be closed. They can pass only in the unpaved, muddy road, which is also longer.
This morning other people have done it. We call Tadesa again and let the people talk to him. (I must say that although it has been explained to me slowly and more than once, since I haven't seen the other gate, which is the reason for preventing the passage on the paved road, I don't understand). Yet it is here that we meet soldiers with good will who feel ashamed to refuse passage to the people but the instructions they have prevent them from acting differently.
To sum up, it is high time the various authorities in charge of the security took into consideration the accumulated fury in people who live under continuous occupation and what it means for the future. They had better look around and see what is happening in the Middle East. One day they, too, will say enough.