'Azzun, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Wed 23.3.11, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
12:59 Habla gate. Three horse cards and some people waiting for the gate to open. It opens exactly at 13:00 and they go through. A school bus arrives from the other side, crosses, as do two tractors and a jeep to the greenhouses. We left at 13:20, a pickup truck and tractors waiting to cross. The second school bus – with the girls – hadn’t arrived. A few Palestinians waiting on the eastern side of the fence, we’re not sure why. Shoshi tries to approach and speak to them; “Beat it!,” says the soldier.
We continue to Alfei Menasheh. Two settlers in a jeep at the turn to Ras A-Tira beep their horn to stop us and find out where we’re going. The new gate is closed, as usual.
We continue to the Eliyahu crossing – a few cars with Israeli plates waiting on the eastern side to return to Israel.
13:45 A flying checkpoint and an army vehicle at the entrance to Azzun. Soldiers stop Palestinian vehicles for inspection, including opening the trunk. We cross without being checked. Karin buys booklets in Arabic at a print shop in Azzun for Palestinian children in Israeli hospitals.
We continue to Jayyous. We get on a road that starts at a plaza at the entrance to Azzun and goes under Route 55. We passed the village of Khirbet Sir – many new houses. North to Kafr Jamal, Jayyous to our left. Infrastructure work all along the way – paving roads, stone sidewalks, lightposts, etc.
Falamya gate is open 12 hours a day. One tractor goes through on its way back to the village.
Up to Kafr Jamal on the steep paved road. Signs to Tulkarm all along the road – the usual road is closed for repairs – and we take the bypass until we reach Kafr Sur. One of the villagers tells us that owners of the lands beyond the separation barrier (most of them olive groves) aren’t being given permits to reach their land, except when the army decides to grant them (during the olive harvest). His family owns 50 dunums on the other side of the separation barrier. Only people aged 50 or older are given permits, and only during the season. Kafr Sur has 4000 inhabitants. The mayor submits the requests.
Because of the road works we arrived by mistake at Gate 753 – Khirbet Jebara. We were given directions how to proceed. Only farmers and residents of Khirbet Jebara use this gate.
We reached the northern Te’anim gate (Jubara) on a road for Palestinian & Israeli Palastinians traffic . The soldiers stop and question us – what are we doing, where are we coming from, do we belong to any organizations. They took our ID, and more questions: where do we live, what do we do, etc. They took our ID’s to check, and asked us to park off to the side. Then they came to inspect the car – including the trunk. They have questions about the Arabic booklets Karin bought – are they seditious? They took them to photocopy. They also checked the glove compartment. Questions about Karin’s cameras in the trunk. Finally, after we told them we’d come from the south, not from the north (Tulkarm), and they explained how dangerous it was for Israeli Jews to be in a Palestinian town, they let us continue. An Israeli car inspected carefully – including by a dog with a handler.
After being released we drove on to Irtach/Efrayim gate. A flow of laborers returning from their work in Israel. One asks for advice about helping his brother, prevented by the GSS from entering Israel for business, and about a friend who has to enter Israel for medical treatment. Karin gives him the relevant phone numbers.