ארתאח (שער אפרים), ג'יוס, חבלה, מעבר אייל, מעבר אליהו, ענבתא, פלאמיה, יום ב' 12.3.12, בוקר
Eliyahu crosssing, Jayyous, Falamya, Habla, Anabta, Shavei Shomron, Deir Sharaf, 12.3.12, morning
Translator: Charles K.
A few announcements for those observing checkpoints in the central area.
The official plowing season (according to the State of Israel) began on 12.3.12! The seasonal gates are supposed to be opened, in addition to the regular agricultural gates, and some of the opening hours will change. We should go to the seam zone more frequently and see whether they are in fact open.
The situation at the Eyal and Efrayim (Irtach) crossingsis terrible, the lines are very long and congestion is great.
The Palestinians as well at the ecumenical volunteers want us to visit these checkpoints in the morning and try to see what’s happening, and to pressure for improvements. The ecumenical volunteers are at the crossings on Sunday and Thursday.
05:45 Eliyahu crossing (109)
An Israeli flag flies from a new flagpole; the landscaping and upgrading proceed apace.
There are at this hour already five cars in the inspection area with all their doors open, and more than 50 Palestinians crowd on the line to the entrance. We didn’t wait to see how quickly they went through because we hurried to Jayyus before that gate closed.
A flock of storks passes overhead.
05:50 Two police cars stop vehicles on Highway 55, before the turn to 'Azzun.
06:00 Jayyus agricultural crossing, northern gate. The gate is open, no one going through. Bjorn, the Norwegian volunteer we arranged to meet, awaits us.
He hadn’t heard that plowing begins today. As of this hour, few people had crossed.
We talk about the situation. He says that at 3 AM this morning three jeeps and an additional army vehicle entered the village. The soldiers arrested and handcuffed a youth; the family called the volunteers who watched what the soldiers did. It turned out not to be the person the soldiers were seeking; they finally left with no prisoner.
Three bored MP’s and a few soldiers greet us happily; they note that it’s been a while since women from Machsom Watch have come to this gate in the morning. A lively discussion ensues. One of the MPs, who has served in this sector for a number of years, was very offended by a report about behavior toward Palestinians at the checkpoint that he felt was extremely unfair.
06:15 A tractor arrives with spraying equipment. The MP inspects the tractor very carefully, including opening the hood, the sprayer tank, its contents (?), the tool box, which he empties, etc. Everything’s OK, of course…Another horse cart and someone on foot arrive. The soldiers know them by name, but the inspections are rigorous.
06:25 Abu Azzam, whom everyone knows, arrives on a tractor pulling a trailer filled with large sacks of זבל fertilizer? Garbage? The MP doesn’t hesitate, climbs on the sacks, opens one and sniffs…
Abu Azzam also hadn’t heard that plowing has begun and that the gates might be opened for longer periods of time. He’ll let farmers in other villages know.
Three tractors loaded with people arrive quickly at the last minute; the gate closes five minutes late.
07:00 Falamya gate
The soldiers are barely visible; no one is crossing. On the way back we meet two tractors with 4-5 riders on each, on their way to the gate.
At least 30 Palestinians are waiting. People go through very quickly – three minutes per group of five people. The soldiers are polite and work fast.
A flock of sheep arrives from the direction of Habla and goes through toward the plant nurseries. A man comes from the direction of the nurseries, is asked whether he has a 00 permit (authorizing him to remain in the seam zone overnight). He says no, he waits until the inspection booth is vacant and is then quickly checked.
The checkpoint commander calls the attention of those crossing to the hour the checkpoint closes in the afternoon. A small boy arrives alone on a donkey; smiling, they let him cross, also reminding him to return on time.
08:05 People continue arriving, but there’s less of a line. Wagons, cars and pickup trucks with seedlings for the plant nurseries arrive. The checkpoint is very busy.
08:10 We leave and make a long detour to reach 'Anabta,on an errand from Sylvia.
08:40 'Anabta. We meet the people waiting for us and decide to stop at Deir Sharaf and then go up to Shavei Shomron.
There’s a lot of traffic on the road. It turns out they’re laying large sewer pipes from Nablus to Beit Lid, to the sewage treatment plant being constructed there with funds donated by the German government.
We go through Eliyahu crossing for the third time today, and return home.