'Azzun, 'Azzun 'Atma, Habla, Shomron Crossing, Tue 25.12.12, Afternoon
Today’s a holiday on the West Bank. Schools are closed, many people in the streets, heavy traffic.
12:55 Habla. 10 men wait to enter.
13:00 The gate opens on time. Three horse carts enter, one loaded with fresh cauliflowers. The first five people enter the inspection station. A truck and a pickup truck loaded with olive trees leave the village. No lines; the crossing flows in both directions.
13:25 We leave.
13:30 ‘Arab a-Ramadin. About a month ago they finished building a school. Four structures covered with white plastic sheeting and roofed with green canvas, three classrooms and a teachers’ room. One of the teachers is from the village and three are from Qalqilya. The school has 50 pupils in grades 1, 2 and 3. The older pupils attend school in Habla or Qalqilya. A., the mukhtar’s son, tells us the school was built on land owned by his family. The school was issued a demolition order. We write down phone numbers in order to contact the attorney who’s dealing with the order on their behalf (in two weeks we’ll return to take photographs).
14:00 Nabi Elias. We stop for falafel.
14:20 Azzun. We stop at Z.’s shop and unload parcels we’ve brought him. He won’t let us leave unless we have coffee.
15:00 Kafr Laqf. The yellow bar is raised. We enter a well-kept village, clean, with sidewalks. The curbs are marked with red and white or black and white stripes. The grocery clerk says there are no problems. It’s quiet and good in the village. A man from Ginot Shomron who’s in the shop says, “He’s a wonderful man. I’ve known him for 30 years. Him and his father.“ We enter more stores and talk to people. Everyone says that the army comes infrequently, makes a circuit and leaves. The village has 700-1000 people. Some have work permits in the settlements and in factories, some have work permits for Israel and everyone has agricultural land.
With respect to building – they’re not permitted to build at the entrance to the village, but inside there aren’t any problems. We see many construction starts (What area is it? C?)
16:00 Shomron checkpoint. Vehicles cross quickly.
Azzun Atma. About 40 Palestinians on line for inspection. Settlers’ vehicles stop, Palestinians get out and join the line in the shed. One says it takes hours to cross. We decided to time it. 5-6 people enter; the crossing flows. Only two booths are open. The person we watched reached the inspection station in 20 minutes. The soldier in charge of sending Palestinians for inspection wears a skullcap, speaks quietly and politely. That seems to have an effect on those waiting in line. Everything goes relatively peacefully. We ask another soldier what it’s like in the morning, and why the Palestinians wait for hours. He says those arriving at 03:30, though the gate only opens at 05:00, wait a long time. He’s a reservist, works in hi-tech, thinks the gate is equivalent to an actual border crossing and the afternoon inspection of people returning to the village is necessary to close the circle. He believes in the mission he’s been called to carry out…While we’re there a soldier stands pointing a sub-machine gun at the people on line. The occupation routine.