'Azzun 'Atma, Habla, Mon 11.2.13, Morning

Observers: 
Shoshana Z., Nina S. (reporting), Translator: Judith Green
11/02/2013
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Morning

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Punishment of a man who insulted a female soldier, caused a halt in the passage of people so that all of them could not go to work.

 

The children's buses  went through with no problem.

 

06:15  'Azzun 'Atma

There are a lot of workers outside, despite the forecast of rain .  There are about 60 people standing in line, but the checkpoint is functioning efficiently and, a little later, when we timed a man who arrived, he went through in 10 minutes - a record time for the early morning.  All this is despite the fact that the soldiers are operating the gate leading to the inspection booths, something which decreases the activity of inspection, or rather, it decreases the speed of the line.

 

Garbage is beginning to pile up next to the shed which had been erected for those waiting in line on the "Israeli" side of the checkpoint.  Since there isn't any garbage can, one can't blame the people going through.

 

07:05  Habla

The checkpoint is still not open and the soldiers seem to be carrying out the opening of the gatesinfo-icon; one can hear a conversation from the gates, but they are not opened and this situation continues for a long time.  Once in a while, there is a loud argument, but it takes a while until Thedesa - an officer from the DCO whom we called to report the problem – calls us back with an explanation.  When the female military police officer arrived to open, one of the Palestinians was rude to her, insulted her (so she said) and she sent him to the end of the line.  This angered those waiting and they decided to hold a strike -  not to go through - and they also didn't allow people who did want to go through to do so.  This went on for a while, and occasionally there were arguments in tones  reaching  high decibels.  One soldier almost started a fistfight with the Palestinians, but his friends restrained him and moved him from the gate area.  There was a feeling that there could be an explosion.  The two sides remained stubborn in their positions, and our request from the DCO to send someone to work out a solution came to nothing.

 

At 08:20, the soldiers closed the passage (08:15 is the official closing time), and that was the end of it.  Except for one couple, rather elderly, whom the strikers allowed to go through, no one else entered Israel.

 

The evening guards from the nurseries, as well as buses of children on the way to school, were allowed to go through into Palestine without delay.  A small number of the workers (according to their employees who were waiting next to the gate) returned and came out though the Eliyahu Gate.

 

08:30  There are still people standing around the gate and talking, apparently evaluating what had happened, and who know what else.  The soldiers went on their way in a rental car with the symbol of their unit on it.

 

When someone insults a female soldier, is she allowed to carry out an educational project?  Clearly she thinks so; and she is the one who rules and decides at "her checkpoint".