'Azzun 'Atma, Eliyahu Crossing, Falamiya, Habla, Kufr Jammal, Mon 4.2.13, Morning
A regular occupation day; buses full of children arrived at the Habla crossing, inspection included the contents of the buses.
06:10 Azun Atme
A lot of people already standing outside the checkpoint, waiting for transport. Only about 30 in line, and they are going through quickly; all the time new people are arriving. A little after our arrival, the checkpoint commander appeared and sent us to stand in the back - we moved a bit, so that we could still see what was happening, but then he returned and started arguing with us, announcing that this was a closed military zone and we had to get farther away. We tried to insist that he show us the order stating that this had been declared a closed military zone, but he didn't have one; nevertheless, he was quite violent in his manner and we didn't have the stamina to oppose him. Clearly, he had received direction from above or from his friends, not to allow us to stand there. So we moved little bit once again. Anyway, beyond just "showing him" that we were allowed, there wasn't any particular importance in insisting, as things were moving along correctly at the checkpoint, it was a well-organized checkpoint and there were no particular problems.
The soldiers opened the gates (the checkpoint was due to open at 07:00), and the first people went through a few minutes earlier than 07:00. A lot of people in line and, next to the checkpoint, there was a civilian car on the patrol road with a license plate on which was written "Ta'oz company, tour of Gates". Strange. Has that also been privatized? Are there civilian "companies"? The crossing itself was very fast in comparison to previous times: 50 people went through in 20 minutes. There were also donkeys and carts and mules and cars. One of them belonging to a man from the Ramadeen clan, was full of things which had to be taken out for a thorough inspection. The gate for vehicles/carts was not opened all the way by the soldiers, creating a traffic jam of cars coming in and out of the West Bank.
The girls' bus arrived and went through inspection on its way to Habla; a few minutes after, the boys' bus arrived and also went through inspection before they were allowed to continue to school, while the buses had to make a slalom run through the gates.
07:45 Eliyahu Gate
4 vehicles being inspected; no one in the pedestrian line.
Tractors going through to their fields. Quiet, pastoral atmosphere. One man sitting at the entrance to the checkpoint. They had taken his permit and he doesn't understand why or what is happening. We decided to wait a few minutes before troubling the DCO; after those minutes, a man returned with his permit and he left for the fields. More tractors arrived, as well as trucks, and they went to the orchards.
We called the village head from Ras a-Tirah in order to find out if Gate 1360, which the soldiers had claimed that they opened before they open at Habla, was really the gate from Ras a-Tirah in the direction of the orchards, next to Alfei Menashe, and indeed it was this gate. He also said that they had opened it for 2 weeks but, during the first week, it had rained and it was impossible to work. This week, they are waiting for the ground to dry a little and by then the time will have gone by and, once again, they will not be able to plow. They simply must lengthen the period during which plowing is allowed.
We went up to Kufr Jammal, to the grocery, to find out if they were allowed to go out to the orchards where the gates had been closed during the whole year, except for during the olive harvest. It turned out that they were not allowed to get to the orchards to plow, the matter is still being taken care of. Also in this case, we complained that, last year, it had rained during the whole 2 weeks and they were not able to get to the orchards to do their work.