Deir Sharaf, Dura/Al Fawwar Junction, Jit, Shave Shomron, Mon 7.11.11, Morning

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Observers: 
Nina S., Rony S. (reporting), Translator: Charles K.
Nov-7-2011
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Morning

The second day of Eid al Adha – Festival of the Sacrifice 

06:30  Habla

The checkpoint is open, very few Palestinians wait to go through.

A plant nursery truck is inspected.  The driver argues with the soldiers and the truck moves back.  It’s not clear whether the driver isn’t permitted to cross, because we see what appears to be a similar truck very carefully inspected, including the driver’s documents, the seats, engine and baggage compartment, but the truck and driver are finally allowed through after an inspection lasting a quarter of an hour.  The driver passes us angrily, complaining about the MP and the soldiers.

People dribble through.  The plant nurseries are closed; we don’t know whether they’ll open later in the day.

06:55  No one crossing.  We leave.

 

07:00  Gate 109

We enter the parking lot and park opposite the crossing so we’ll be able to see what’s happening.  A guard approaches, explains that it’s the employee lot (there’s no sign).  We move a little. We cross the road, and although the guard comes over we’re not chased away and have a good view of what’s going on.  There are few Palestinians; people on foot cross very quickly.  We see a group of Palestinian women who’d gone through walking slowly along the roadside on their way to Israel.

No cars in the inspection pen.  A refrigerated truck with a yellow license plate stands next to it, but continues to Israel after a brief discussion.

07:15  We continue to the Jayyus checkpoint, hoping to arrive before it closes.

A military jeep stands at the entrance to'Azzun; we have to go around it to turn to Azzun.  No laborers wait at the exit.

 

07:30  Jayyus gate

A truck and two tractors are still waiting to go through.  The soldiers carefully inspect the truck; meanwhile I speak to A.A., who says the olive harvesting continues, despite the holiday, to take advantage of the good weather; there’s still much work.

The two tractors cross quickly.

07:35  No more people are waiting; the soldiers close the gate.

 

07:45  Falamya gate

A family with five children, the youngest about two years old, walksalong the road from Falamiya toward the gate, loaded with tools for harvesting olives.  Because of the holiday they’re all going to harvest, happy and cheerful.

The reach the gate and the revolving gate which opens and closes with the press of a button operated by the MP in the inspection building.  The father picks up the youngest, the two older ones join him and the two younger children can’t decide what to do.  They’re clearly very frightened; they remain with their mother on the other side of the closed revolving gate while the father enters the inspection building with the children.  We all hear the terrified screams of the little boy, the mother is locked out and can’t help. The soldiers yell to the MP to open the gate for the mother also, but she doesn’t, and the screaming continues.  The children who are with the mother also hold on to her fearfully.  Finally the family is reunited, the little boy holds his mother, still crying, and all of them look frightened.

There is a continuous trickle of people, obviously on their way to harvest olives.

Another extended family with many children arrives on a tractor pulling a wagon.  The adults get off to be inspected, leaving four little children on the tractor.  The soldiers discuss whether the children must go through the inspection building but decide they don’t have to get off the tractor.

Another family arrives; an elderly couple with a donkey cart; a car and driver; a youth and old man with a donkey cart.  Many more cross than on an ordinary day. 

08:20  We leave

 

08:30  Kafr Jamal

Our friend’s grocery is open and we’re served tea and cookies in honor of the holiday.  We really wanted to hear whether there had been any more problems regarding opening the interior gatesinfo-icon, but it turned out that a few days of rain had followed our visit, when no one had harvested, and then the holiday began, so as far as he knew no one had harvested since; in any case, he hadn’t heard of any problems.  We tried to understand where those interior gates, where Palestinians are locked in, are located, and to help us understand Z. took us along the road to Tulkarm, opposite the settlement of Sla’it, where we saw the holdings beyond the separation fence, below the settlement.  He showed us his land, cut by the separation fence, explaining there were coils of razor wire on the other side of the fence, in which locked gates have been installed, each giving access to 3-4 Palestinian holdings.  The soldiers open the gates in the morning and after the Palestinians enter their holdings lock them in, and reopen then only in the afternoon (if they remember…!).  The holdings involved are located in the area between Sal’it and Kokhav Ya’ir.  Two questions we didn’t ask, which I’ll try to get answered by phone tomorrow:

  1. What happens if someone feels ill during the day? 
  2. Today we saw many people who went in later.  How did they reach their holdings?

Once we get more specific information, I wonder whether we could send a letter of compliant.

 

09:20  We arrived at the Jubara checkpoint. 

One car is parked outside the gate.

The inspection of cars and people, entering and leaving, proceeds rapidly.  Women don’t go through the scanner.  Taxis arrive, their passengers get out.

 

09:50  We drive along Beit Lid’s steep roads.  There are many people in the streets; a festive atmosphere.

 

10:05  Deir Sharaf

Many cars and people in the village center.

 

We drive on Highway 60 to Shavei Shomron.  The crossing to Jenin is open.  The entrance to Kafr Naqura is open, but the road to Asira a-Shamaliyya and from there to Nablus is closed to Palestinians; it’s used only by the army.

Whenever we stop, Palestinians immediately stop also and ask whether we need help, and answer all our questions. There are many women and children in the cars, and a festive atmosphere.

 

Jit junction is open to traffic, only a blue police car lying in wait inside.

 

10:45  Eliyahu crossing (109)

There are about five cars in the inspection pen, doors and windows wide open.  The cars are surrounded by people inspecting them.  From the road we can’t see whether there are dogs.

We drive home.  Nothing terrible happened.   What’s terrible is that everyone has gotten used to this.