'Azzun 'Atma, Eliyahu Crossing, Falamiya, Habla, Mon 13.8.12, Morning
06:00 We drove toward the Tamar gate from the entrance to Oranit (The Tamar gate is the southern agricultural gate of 'Azzun 'Atma; it adjoins the road parallel to it on the south side. That road is closed at both ends by gates, one of which is open when the Tamar gate is open. The farmers leave through the Tamar gate and can freely access their groves or reach the main road leading to the settlements to get to work. In our last report we noted that we’d heard an additional fence had been erected south of the road, which is now hemmed in between two fences; access from it to the groves is via an additional gate in the new fence which also involves a tale (that has already been told). We wanted to try to see what’s happening. And in fact, the road from the direction of Oranit is blocked by a gate which is closed.
06:10 'Azzun 'Atma, south. A few people wait outside. Two inspection stations operate normally. Fewer people on line as well – maybe 50 waiting to cross; about 20 went through in ten minutes. Laborers with belongings leave them before the gate and after their documents have been inspected return to go through the gate and collect their things. Today, unlike the usual arrangement, a soldier opens and closes the gate which isn’t usually locked – the gate is locked and each time an MP must get the key from the checkpoint commander, open the gate, close it and return the key to the commander. Pretty funny. It reminds me of the keys held by the housekeeper in the home of a British aristocrat, who would give them temporarily to one of the servants to remove something from a cupboard and immediately take them back.
06:20 We returned toward the Tamar gate on the other side of the road. The soldiers arrived at 06:30, opened the gate, closed it leaving a small opening (without locking it), to make it clear to us that we weren’t allowed to enter. Soon those crossing to the main road on their way to work began flowing in. From where we stood we couldn’t see the gates, nor were we able to find somewhere else to stand which allowed us to view them, nor the new gate erected next to the well, so we couldn’t learn anything beyond the facts that those crossing told us about, but they didn’t know whether it was open or whether it opened only at specific times. Now the gate is open from 06:30 to 07:00.
07:00 Habla – The soldiers begin opening the gates.
07:07 The first people coming through entered for inspection. A night watchman from the plant nurseries arrives. His permit is valid only for Gate 109 (Eliyahu), but he lives in Habla. He wanted to take a shortcut rather than wait until he can get a ride to 109; he’s very old. The soldiers didn’t permit him to cross, despite his appeals. He’s already been to the DCO; they told him they can alter the permit only when it expires – in mid-September – but it’s now Ramadan, and it’s hard for him? Who cares. There are rules; that’s that.
07:30 Eliyahu gate – 109 – The occupation routine. A Palestinian who’d gone through the checkpoint and took a shortcut to the parking lot to catch a ride to work was reprimanded and made to take the longer route designated for Palestinians. He’s forbidden to walk on the Jews’ path. A few cars being inspected, as usual; few laborers go through.
08:15 Falamya – Quiet. An elderly woman arrives on the security road from the fields. She’s already returning from her land, to which she came early in the morning. Now she must walk all the way to Beit Jamal, because of the fence, and it’s impossible to walk directly home from her field. The distance must be at least 3-4 kilometers in each direction. A car arrives from the fields and enters after a brief inspection.