'Azzun 'Atma, Habla, Wed 30.5.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Two gates in the separation fence make manifest Israelcontrol and the economic dependence of the Palestinians on Israel. Or: why it’s important to keep coming to the checkpoints.
06:00 Azzun Atma
Dozens, perhaps hundreds of people on line to leave for work, to build and improve the Jewish state. At about this hour, workers in the Raba stream quarry, owned by the international Hanson company, are returning from their night shift. The company seems to have a special status; the quarry workers don’t have to wait to be inspected before going home. The same is true for their replacements on the morning shift. They’re able to bypass the line and be transported separately as a group.
(for information on the location of the quarry, and the area’s geopolitical context, cf. these protocols: http://www.moin.gov.il/SubjectDocuments/Vaadot_VHyhodGvulot_02.pdf )
Decision of the Supreme Court regarding quarries in the occupied territories:
There’s one booth where those exiting have their IDs and permits inspected, and after they have to wait at the booth a female MP rummages through their belongings before they continue across the road to wait for their employers.
Not long after we arrived Nura noticed that a handcuffed man was seated on the ground next to the guard station!! A man standing beside him hurried to explain that while that man was line he tried to tell the soldier about a person with heart trouble, and asked them to let him through. The soldier told him to shut up. They began arguing and the man was handcuffed.
We called both the humanitarian office and Tedesa from the DCO; they said they’d look into it.
A young man whose ID had been taken was sent to stand near the handcuffed man. He’s detained that way every day, he doesn’t understand why and fears he won’t be allowed to go to work. We gave him Sylvia’s phone number. A few minutes later he’s permitted to go through.
Meanwhile, five people arrive from the road and a soldier orders them to sit next to the handcuffed man. It turns out they’d been caught near Oranit settlement without work permits valid west of the separation fence. One says, “I don’t have a permit, but I have children.” The entire Torah in one short sentence.
Someone who’s apparently from the GSS is walking around the area of the checkpoint; he interrogates the handcuffed man. From time to time he also approaches one of the people exiting and speaks with him.
06:37 One of the soldiers who came with the men who didn’t have work permits for Israelundoes the handcuffs, but the man sits back down on the ground.
06:52 A soldier brings water for the detainees.
We call Tedesa again. He says he was told that the handcuffed man had been released. He’s still sitting on the ground. The soldier in the guard post overhears Nura’s conversation with Tedesa and yells at her: “Tell him that it’s someone with a work permit who threatened a soldier.”
Tedesa says that those without work permits for the seam zone/the area west of the separation fence/the settlements, etc., must be detained.
07:03 After one of the soldiers speaks to the man who’d been handcuffed, the soldier in the guard post returns his ID and he goes back to Azzun Atma. He can’t work, at least not today.
07:10 We left.
According to H., an MP, one bus with children has gone through. No other bus had gone through by the time we left at 08:25.
Inspection of those exiting proceeds as on other days – five are inspected, five wait near the revolving gate for the first five to finish. People who want to go back to the village complain that they have no freedom of movement because the checkpoint is open only thrice a day, each time briefly, and if they’ve a little late they have to wait until the next time it opens.
We ask H. why those going home have to wait for him to wave them through. He says that he’s not allowed to respond because the conversation might become political.