'Azzun, Deir Sharaf, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Jit, Mon 14.3.11, Morning
Agricultural Gates, Habla, Jayyus Falamya
06:45, Habla. We expected to find the gate open at this hour, but the gates were closed; no soldiers and a lot of Palestinians waiting from the direction of Habla; a lot of vehicles; the elderly guard for the nurseries waiting alongside the nurseries. We contact the DCO to find out what happened and the female soldier said she would clarify the situation.
06:55 The soldiers arrive and start to get organized. They say that the ploughing is over and therefore the gate once again opens at 07:00. The Palestinians whom we asked said that no one had notified them about the change and therefore they had waited several hours.
07:04 Buses of children went through first; also, a van and the elderly guard who goes through every morning.
07:05 The first group of 5 workers enters for inspection which takes 3 minutes.
07:20 We leave.
07:25 Eliyahu Gate We don't see anyone passing through. No police, who usually inspect vehicles entering the fields.
07:30 'Azzun, gate open. In the plaza in front of the gate there are a lot of stones strewn on the ground, perhaps evidence of yesterday's events. No soldiers.
07:40 Jayyus, agricultural gate is closed and boarded up. It seems that the hours have not been changed at all the agricultural gates.We take a hitch-hiker, a middle-aged man, walking on the road with a bucket containing a sack of food and branches of "maramiya" for tea. In his other hand is a hoe, for the Falamya gate. He tells us that he is going to work in his field and that his son also has a permit, but he is studying now.
07:45 Falamya Gate. The soldiers are inspecting the contents of the bucket carefully. The man waves good-bye to us and continues on his way to the field. A tractor arrives with a wagon full of sacks of garbage. The military policewoman asks them to open the wagon so they can see that these are really full of garbage.
The farmer suggests, with a smile, that she smell them...she asks him to take down several bags, randomly, from the middle of the wagon and this is done. The contents of a cooler and bucket which are carried in a donkey cart are carefully searched. There is a slow constant stream of workers at the checkpoint. The soldiers are polite. M., from Falamya, sends greetings to Yael S and his phone number and invites us to his house.
08:10 We leave and continue along the beautiful road, full of flowers at the foot of Falamya and Kfar Jamal, between the hothouses and the fields. This interior road is also being repaired. A horse blocks the road and, since his owner is not around, Nina speaks to him and asks him in Arabic to move, and he immediately responds and lets us go by... Return by way of 'Azzun and continue in the direction of Dir Sharaf to check if there are any flying checkpoints. Up to Kedumim we didn't see any military vehicle. Opposite Kedumim there was a "hummer" parked, as well as at the entrance to Yishai Farm. Next to Shvut Ami, and on the opposite hilltop, there was no sign of settlers or army. It seemed to us that there was more movement on the roads than during the past few days. On the hill over J'at Junction, there was a "hummer" and soldiers watching the junction. We turned off to Dir Sharaf.
08:40 Dir Sharaf We stop at the grocery/bakery. The owner tells us that everything is quiet there and there are no problems, but he also tells us that that a tractor and some cars were burnt in the evening by settlers in Kfar Jinspot (?) He doesn't believe that an observant Moslem murdered the family at Itamar, maybe it was connected to drugs or crime... There are a lot of customers at the grocery. The road to Jenin is open and there are a lot of vehicles going back and forth.
9:30 We leave Dir Sharaf and return the same way. At the J'at Junction, Kedumim and Yishai Farm, there is no military presence. Someone cleaned the entrance to 'Azzun and there are no signs of what happened. At the Eliyahu checkpoint they do not ask us for IDs, even though we left the MachsonWatch stickers on the car. There is a feeling of uneasy quiet and dissonance between the wonderful spring day and what is bubbling beneath the surface.