'Azzun 'Atma, Falamya, Habla, Mon 14.1.13, Morning
The children are on mid-year vacation for a month. The high school students are still studying, but only until the end of the week. At the 'Azzun 'Atma checkpoint, they decided to get organized and to teach the Palestinians a lesson in organization.
06:00 Entrance to Tamar Gate - We come from the direction of Oranit. The Gate to the road leading to the Tamar Gate is open and, at the entrance road, a military vehicle is driving in front of us. When it reaches the Gate, it turns around and comes back toward us. "It is forbidden for you to be here. Get out!" After a short discussion, we decided to give in so that they would go and open the Gate.
We drove to the other end of the road, which is close to the Gate of 'Azzun 'Atma and, after waiting about 5 minutes, a number of Palestinians arrived. They said they were working nearby and it was easier to go out through the Tamar Gate, even though most of them were going to work in the direction of Oranit. In order to leave the area, they had to push the two wings of the closed Gate outward; thus the locked space between the wings is wide enough so that pushing on them, made it possible to duck down and get through the locked chain.
06:30 'Azzun 'Atma - there are people outside. Not a lot. Bonfires are warming some of them and other are behind a new guard wall which was erected on the road which gives a little protection against the cold. It was really cold; 7 degrees, according to my car thermometer.
There are about 50 people in line and 2 inspection stations as well as soldiers keeping order. Those waiting are in line and have to go through a gate. The gate is sometimes locked and, even when it is open, they only let one person at a time through after the person in front of him has finished his inspection. They constantly tell the people in line to go back, stand in order, and they are standing 2 meters from the gate. But, according to the basic laws of physics, when there is a space, it fills up and the line is always moving forward a bit and then everyone is sent backward to get in order; until they are sufficiently organized in the eyes of the soldiers, no one goes through and the line lengthens. It reminds us of the horrible days of the checkpoints in Hebron, and the shouts "Irgeh l-wara!" (go back!). A soldier comes over to find out why we are there and says, in our conversation, that "there must be order". I told that that was how it was once in Germany and tried to explain to him, something he doesn't seem to understand, that the people here are not soldiers and they are just simple workers who are dying to get to work and earn a living, and what they need is a little empathy and not a lineup. I don't know if this made any impression.
Outside, and in the nurseries, there are already workers who have passed through. At the entrance to the checkpoint (opens at 06:30) there are donkeys and wagons. There is no line at the checkpoint, whoever arrives go through, and everyone is satisfied because it opened earlier than usual in the morning. Tractors go through in both directions, and a boy who is waiting in the shed for his father, who went to bring the wagon, told us that the children are on vacation.
A number of women are waiting. A tractor with irrigation pipes is inspected, and then another one - took them each 5 minutes to go through. The soldiers came over to ask who we are, and were amazed at our tenacity in coming to such a place. I explained to them that, in my 9 years in Machsomwatch, I was attacked only by settlers. A private car passes, a real "highway" today.
One woman is sent back, poor thing. Her permit expired today and she hadn't noticed. We took her back to Jayyus, from where she had come on foot.