Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Jubara (Kafriat), Te'enim Crossing, Mon 28.11.11, Morning
Habla, 109, Beit Jimal, Jubara, the road to Tulkarm up to the rear crossing to the Te’anim crossing (near Izbat Shufa) and back via Khaja and Funduq to Route 55, 109 and then home
The gates are locked and there are no soldiers. Many Palestinians wait on the Habla side. The elderly guard waits with his “vehicle” on the side where the plant nurseries are located.
07:04 The first children’s bus arrives, and the second follows immediately. We telephone the DCO; they know about the delay – someone will be there right away.
07:07 A civilian car with four soldiers speeds along the security road toward the gate. They rapidly start getting organized; in response to my question, the checkpoint commander says there was a problem with the vehicles this morning.
07:14 The MP lets the bus drivers and the guard in, and passes them through quickly without inspection. The first group of five laborers also enters; they come through five minutes later.
07:17 The second group of five enters, and exits at 07:20.
Inspections continue rapidly, even though there are only four soldiers.
07:45 Despite the rapid inspections, about 100 Palestinians are still waiting to cross, and people argue about their place in line. The MP pulls a woman out of line and sends her through.
When we read recent descriptions of the situation at checkpoints like 'Azzun 'Atma, or, even worse, at Qalandiya, we know things are better here, but it’s still hard to accept that every day people going to work must traverse an obstacle course, and do so again on their way home.
07:50 We leave.
08:35 Falamya agricultural gate
The gate is open from 05:00 until 17:00. This is the gateway for farmers from Jayyus, Falamya and Kafr Jimal, whose lands are very far away. Some of them are allowed to drive along the security road to another gate in the inner fence, and from there on the internal roads, some of which are blocked by concertina wire and aren’t always opened, even during the olive harvest. During the summer they’re locked, and opened only after coordinating with the DCO.
As usual, there’s a steady trickle of people crossing here.
I ask one man I know how things are. “So-so…,” he says.
The bad part, which doesn’t change, is that he needs the permission of the soldiers to reach the land belonging to him and his family, along with inspections and questions and prohibitions. The other part is the rest.
We meet a guy from Falamya who doesn’t have a permit; he hoped the soldiers would let him through because he came with a man who has fields of za’atar and employs laborers, including this guy’s brother. We put him in touch with Sylvia.
He takes us to the Falamya seasonal gate which is connected directly to the village. He says that the gate was open during the olive harvest, but it’s now closed again, even though keeping it open could make life much easier for the residents.
We pass his family’s house on the way to the gate, and then a well next to which is a lovely hut, orchards and vegetable fields. We meet two women who lived for many years in Lebanon and now have returned to the village and their land. The guy helps us explain to the women who we are; they shake our hands in appreciation. They speak French, telling us about their life in Lebanon.
He tells us he attended university in Jordan. He is a construction engineer but can’t find work in his field so is looking for an agricultural job. He too is not willing to emigrate in order to find a job.
09:30 We leave our new friends and continue to Kafr Jimal. Z. isn’t in his shop; we continue along the road toward Tulkarm. We turn left onto a dirt road below Sla’it, drive to the Sla’it gate – it serves farmers holding permits who are going to their olive groves and laborers working in the settlement. The checkpoint is open Sunday through Thursday morning from 05:30 to 06:00, and from 15:00 to 15:30 in the afternoon. Maybe that would be a good time to go there and talk to people.
10:30 We continue to the Jubara gate and turn toward Tulkarm, drive up to the rear gate of the Te’anim crossing which is next to Izbat Shufa, and are happy to run into our friend K., the taxi driver from Beit Lid, who worked the Tulkarm – Beit Iba route during the period when things were worse. We talk to him and catch up.
Since this gate is open to Israeli Arabs only from 11:30, and we don’t know whether they’ll let us through, we return by the same route, via the Zayit plaza toward Funduq, go through Khaja, turn right at Funduq onto Highway 55 toward the Eliyahu crossing (109), and then home.