Deir Sharaf, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Sun 6.5.12, Morning
06:45 The gate is closed. It opens at 07:00. That in itself is very surprising, because summer has begun.
The soldiers take positions at the corners of the area with weapons drawn ostentatiously.
The crossing operates in a reasonable manner. More vehicles than in the past arrive at the Palestinian side and let people out. About 20-30 people are waiting beyond the gate.
07:15 A bus and minibus, now painted red, arrive with pupils. The drivers approach the gate but are ignored for a long time. In the meantime the children leave the bus and run around dangerously. Dalya tells the soldier before the Israel gate that the delay is unnecessary and that vehicles, including a horse cart, could endanger the children running around. The soldier, in fact, responds politely. Immediately afterwards the drivers are allowed entry for authorization and return to their vehicles to collect the children. One driver says to us: It’s like this every day when you’re not here.
07:40 Long lines from Alfei Menashe. Traffic is slow; two police officers and a soldier attempt to direct it.
Traffic is normal About 20 people wait to enter (most to Alfei Menashe).
At the same time, setters wait on the side for rides.
07:50 There is a military vehicle opposite 'Azzun, another opposite the Qedumim stop and one at Jit junction, guarding the hitchhiking station.
08:00 Deir Sharaf
The road, in very poor condition, as it has been for years, is full of vehicles, including many taxis. We stopped at the grocery to ask why the road-widening isn’t continuing. Here’s the explanation: The money is a donation from Germany, the contractor is from Hebron. Israel ordered the work stopped, with the excuse that astronomical guarantees must be deposited in an Israeli bank (NIS 100,000). For some reason the Palestinians were unable to do so – more of the occupation’s wonderful bureaucracy. It doesn’t matter how much, why, how - the bottom line is that the enlightened country doesn’t want a wide, standard, two-lane road here, lest an increase of “normal” traffic will “endanger” Israeli rule. It all seems and sounds hallucinatory. What a shame.
08:30 Shavei Shomron
We see almost no vehicles. The checkpoints are in place, ready for a decision to use them again.
People cross freely, without restrictions.