Habla, Sat 30.4.11, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
On the way to Jayyus I stopped twice at the Habla gate – in the afternoon, and towards evening. It was particularly interesting. But first - the photographs: A piece of paper is attached to the gate with the hours that it opens and closes. I photographed it, and also a general view of the checkpoint from a distance.
At 12:50 in the afternoon, a horse cart is waiting at the gate to leave the enclave. The driver is struggling with the horse, who’s refusing to stand and wait…And he keeps struggling until they open the gate. Three more people wait next to him. On the other side – about ten people and a car.
The gate opens at 13:00, and a few people begin to enter the enclave. Those waiting on the enclave side, including the driver of the horse cart, will have to wait until everyone from the Habla side has come through. Among those crossing to “my” side – a woman waiting for her husband, who’s waiting in his car until they allow him to cross as well. We start talking: She lives in Ras Atiya. I tell her I’ve been there a few times, before they rerouted the new fence. And then she asks: What’s your name? Dalya, I reply. Her face lights up, she hugs and kisses me…What’s going on? She heard the name from her husband, he’s spoken a great deal about me. Why am I mentioning this? Because I didn’t do anything for him! When we met in Ras Atiya, and he complained that he wasn’t allowed to reach his fields, I gave him phone numbers of people to contact. Two weeks later, when I was there again, I called to ask how he was. He replied: Better. I asked: Did you call the numbers I gave you? Reply: Not yet. “I’m tired and despairing.” Me: So why did you say, “Better”? Reply: Because you called to find out how I am… I felt terrible. I told N. the story today in Jayyus, who said: I keep telling you, but you still don’t understand, how important it is to us that someone cares, that someone is interested and listens to us. It’s at least as important as the help – maybe even more.
More from the Habla gate: The woman’s husband arrived, and the meeting was an emotional one. When I asked where they were heading, he replied: To my lands – after they changed the route of the fence, I’m trying to reach them. I followed him in the car to see how someone from Ras Atiya reaches his lands: we went through the Habla gate and came to the hill at the entrance to Alfei Menashe. In other words, with the permit for the Habla gate he can drive in his car to the Alfei Menashe industrial zone. From there he has to walk a few kilometers. During the olive harvest, he and his wife carried sacks of olives on their heads, one by one, from his trees to the car. This time he wants a Bedouin with a tractor to see whether he can get there with the tractor. If he can, it will, of course, be a big help. Without the fence, it takes ten minutes to reach his lands. Now – hours! And partly on foot. The view from the hill of the direct route (over the fence) is frustrating and demoralizing. We said goodbye with hugs and kisses, hoping to meet again soon, at their home. I’ll come. There’s a lot more to tell, but I’ll stop here.