Habla, Tue 13.9.11, Morning
The gate is open. The atmosphere is somewhat tense and bitter. A Palestinian coming through the crossing says the soldiers are yelling. Another says everything’s fine. We hear the female soldier’s raised voice coming from the inspection booth.
Heidi, an American photographer from a French news agency, arrives and begins taking photographs. The female soldier emphatically demands that she stop. When we ask why (the photographer doesn’t speak Hebrew; we translated for her) the soldier said that it’s a closed military area (the layman asks: Are the checkpoints really a closed military area? Is photography really forbidden?). The photographer says she not taking pictures of the checkpoint but of the school bus and the people crossing. She also took a photograph of the female soldier who became very angry and called the police. A soldier standing near us explained that photographing objects is permitted, but not soldiers. Sounds logical. We told the photographer. The soldier also said that the police are on the way, and the photographer packed up and left. Meanwhile a tumult and shouting on the other side of the fence. A Palestinian yells at the female soldier who yells back at him. He yells, “The line has been organized since 6 AM…” The female soldier yells at the Palestinian and orders him to go back. A humiliating, banal scene. When he came through we asked what was going on. He’d organized the line. A woman arrived, and those waiting decided to let her cross before them. The female soldier sent the woman to the end of the line. She also tried to change the order in which they would go through. Meanwhile the female soldier walks away from the line (people crossing wait) to inspect a cart carrying vegetables. Its owner tells us he’s taking them to some wedding on the other side of the border. He’s made to take all the vegetables back, and comes through with only “leaves for the donkey.” Two festively-dressed young people cross, slap palms with the soldiers, call out “good morning,” “what’s up,” and go through the gate. They tell us “everything’s great,” no complaints, the current group of soldiers is excellent, really excellent. They asked that we write what they said – so I’m doing so. Leora said they’re not on their way to work: they’ve showered, combed their hair, and she noticed they’re wearing white shoes.
Azzun – quiet
Falamya – open; a shepherd and his flock go through the gate.
We went over to ask Na’im whether there’s anything new. Yes, he said, he was just told that the Israeli DCO notified the Palestinian DCO that they’re going to close the crossing to Jayyous at 09:30. We hurried away. On our way out we saw two army jeeps driving toward Jayyous. An armored vehicle also drove by at Nabi Elias. No doubt – the IDF is telling everyone – Look out, we’re here!