'Awarta, 'Azzun 'Atma, Habla, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 28.11.11, Afternoon
The Palestinians who enter and some of those who leave praise the woman soldier at the gate (from the Military Police). Listening to an argument between a soldier and an elderly resident accompanied by a boy, we have learned a new term. The birth certificate of children under 16 that has to be in their pocket every time they enter or leave, is called "Kushan" [The term Kushan, used here figuratively, is a certificate of registration of immovable]. The boy didn't have the certificate but they were finally allowed to leave, with a warning. Old tractors and donkey-drawn carts pass and a school-children bus arrives at the exit.
The soldiers check the bus, the driver and the children for over 10 minutes. The whole while, three workers who wish to return to their village stand waiting near us. Suddenly the gate closes and the woman soldier who checks documents on the computer refuses to let them in. we intervene and explain that the workers were here on time. The commander orders her to run the check personally and within a minute they are let in.
The traffic is streaming and no soldiers are seen. At the square, in a camouflage net covered post, a soldier can be seen with his gun pointing in the direction of Huwwara.
We enter the village and see no military at all.
A row of 12 cars waiting to pass. The traffic is streaming but in the adjacent parking lot about 8 men and women soldiers are checking thoroughly a Palestinian car whose driver and two passengers are standing outside. While all the parts of the car are being checked and the trunk is being emptied, a dog trainer arrives. Everyone is watching the dog doing its work and another dog trainer is waiting with her dog. We understand that we are watching soldiers training a search in a suspicious vehicle. Nearby a military jeep that was about to leave changes its position after seeing us and stands at an angle that hides the sight from us. We wonder if the owner of the vehicle is compensated for the time he lost for the sake of military training.
We go to Azzun Atme following our friends' complaint about what is going on at the time the workers leave and get back. We find a line of 25 people waiting in a narrow passage adjacent to a busy main road. The first group is quickly vacated and checked in the big, canopy covered area, where soldiers are standing and checking documents. Vehicles keep coming every few minutes, sending out workers who are ordered to regroup and stand in one line close to the road and then ordered to hurry in order to make room for the next group. We cannot understand why the workers are not told to right away in lines in the covered and safer area, where they won't crowd in a narrow, dangerous row. It is obvious that the covered place is meant only for soldiers.
A large group of soldiers arrives accompanied by a company commander and three vehicles, maybe following the complaints about the last days' events. According to the soldiers, the big pressure at the entrance and the exit started after the Ramadan [a Muslim holiday], which neither they nor the workers can explain. We even hear a settler from a nearby settlement complaining that leaving in the mornings is so difficult that many contractors left without the workers. We feel for those who lost a day of work.