Falamiya, Habla, Jayyus, Thu 8.3.12, Morning

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Nura R., Riva B., Hanna A. (reporting)

Translator:  Charles K



I think the occupation’s bureaucracy has a life of its own.  The occupation also manifests itself in language (‘the stopper’ – the term for the checkpoint’s inspection room), its hold extended by landscaping, a ridiculous effort to beautify it.
The checkpoints are manned by reservists, in addition to Border Police soldiers.

11:13  Tu B’Shvat is being celebrated late at the Eliyahu crossing:  Palestinian workers are planting palm trees in concrete pits…

We drove through Jayyus.  Drivers and people in the village report that Tuesday night a young man from the village was arrested and a second was told to come the following morning for interrogation.  Both remained in jail.

12:06  Jayyus gate in the fence is open.  We understand that children are off from school to celebrate International Women’s Day.  They’re accompanying their adult family members working in the fields trapped in the seam zone.  The heavy rains have left puddles and mud near the yellow iron bar blocking the road; the only way to reach the gate beyond the “security road” and remain dry is in a vehicle.

Four tractors and two wagons went through the checkpoint while we stood there.
A discussion started with one of the soldiers.  When we said that it’s hard for the villagers to work their fields because they receive so few permits to the “seam zone,” he said that an elderly mother crossed this morning with seven children.

12:52  Falamiya
Two residents of Jayyus came from the “seam zone” as soon as we arrived.  It turned out they had entered this morning through the Falamiya checkpoint, but when they wanted to return through the Jayyus gate, they weren’t allowed to do so.  They were required to use the checkpoint through which they’d entered.   They had no means of transportation and had to walk back to Falamiya.  We gave them a ride to Jayyus.

The older of the two had been blacklisted.  He was removed from the blacklist and received a permit for one week (!), which expires on 9.3.12, to look for work in Israel.  We were sorry to hear that he, unfortunately, didn’t find a job during that week.  We also learned that even though the checkpoint is open continuously from 05:30 until the evening, it’s not yet light at 05:30 at this time of year, and there’s no point coming to the checkpoint at that hour.
13:00  We left.

13:40  Habla
Cars loaded with saplings leave Habla.  A horse cart loaded with scrap metal waits to enter the village.  The dealer and cart are allowed to enter but one of the wings of the gate obstructs the horse.  Nura moves it and immediately the soldiers call to her, “Lady, leave the gate alone.”
Another man, returning from his fields beyond the fence, tells us that 14 dunams (3.5 acres) were robbed from his family to erect the fence. 
The high point of our shift:  Moving a refrigerator from the village to the plant nursery next to the fence.  It turns out that “a refrigerator is something that needs a special permit,” A., from the nursery, tells us, perhaps cynically.  He’s familiar with the ins-and-outs of the bureaucracy of occupation, with those who design it and those who implement it.  He tells us how, each time the soldiers are replaced, he experiences anew the checkpoint crossing saga, the scornful tones of those running it (“Open up, I’ve got two who are on their way out of here,” he quotes), while he waits patiently but determinedly for the permit to move the refrigerator to the nursery.  At 13:56, A. receives the permit he’s been waiting for, but neither the highest rank present nor the MP’s are aware of it.  A request that they contact the head of the DCO is met with: “I have other things to do besides calling Tedesa.  At the same time that I have to provide security for myself and the others, I also have to call Tedesa?,” says the highest ranking person there.   A minute later the refrigerator is respectfully transported to the plant nursery.

14:00  The checkpoint closed, and we left.