'Anabta, Beit Iba, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Visits to Villages, Tue 1.1.13, Morning

Naomi Bentsur, Natalie Cohen Translator: Charles K.

09:00 Since there’s no English lesson in Hars this week either, we leave Rosh Ha’Ayin to visit checkpoints. Our first stop is the Sha’ar Efrayim terminal. We met a very well-dressed Palestinian, beaming happily. He’d received a New Year’s present: an entry permit to work in Israel. H. is 28, from Irtach; he’s been blacklisted by the Shabak for ten years (because of an informer, he says). He speaks fluent Hebrew, from having worked in Israel when he was 13 (!) to 17. During the past ten years he married, had four daughters and barely was able to support his family by meager allowances from the UN and help from his father living in Jordan. Now he has only six days to find a job. And if he fails – he’ll have to wait a few months to receive six more days. If he succeeds, H. will be one of more than 5000 people crossing through this terminal every day from 4 in the morning until 7 in the evening.


One of the guards is a polite young Ethiopian. He’s already met women from Machsom Watch who’ve been to the terminal. It’s good thing, he says. He has very moderate political views: he’s in favor of a Palestinian state. Against a bi-national state. He invites us to return; we leave feeling it’s good there’s someone like him here at this explosive location.


From the terminal we continue to the village of Tzabara. After the inhabitants refused annexation to Tayibeh they’re getting a fence “of their own.”


The next stop – the Anabta checkpoint, leading to Area A. Traffic here is light; the checkpoint opens only when the occasional vehicle arrives.


11:30 Deir Sharab. There used to be a checkpoint at the entrance to this village where Palestinians were treated terribly. Today the checkpoint is open and not manned. The restrictions on development that were imposed on the village have also been lifted and it’s bustling, many shops are open, there’s a small café where elderly men sit engaged in a lively conversation. A pleasant atmosphere.


Then to Beit Iba. That checkpoint has also been removed; only the concrete barriers remain as souvenirs at the entrance to the village. A refreshing innovation at the exit from the village: a restaurant that provides children who accompany their parents with something to do – a playground with colorful equipment.


Via Jit junction to Nabi Elias, then to the Elliyahu gate. A manned army jeep by the roadside brings us back to reality. Vehicles go through the gate without problems.


12:00 Back to Rosh Ha’Ayin.