חבלה, מעבר אליהו, עזון עתמה, יום ב' 13.5.13, בוקר
They destroyed the shed at Habla belonging to the greengrocer and scattered all the vegetables and equipment. The children of Arav Ramdin were able to get to school safely despite the destruction. At 'Azzun 'Atma, they are trying to throw us back behind some imaginary line in the shed which is in front of the entrance to the road leading to the checkpoint. After an argument about our rights to stand where we had been standing, the issue passed into a discussion about the occupied territories and the soldiers who have to be there now instead of at the University (Ariel) for their examinations.
06:05 Checkpoint of 'Azzun 'Atma
There are a lot of people in line (about 100). Outside, there are relatively few people who had already passed through the checkpoint.
The passage is quite fast, but takes place within a chaotic crowd and arguments between the people who are standing in line in front of the checkpoint. When they pass through the magnometer, there is no space to put things down (like money or telephones) in an orderly way, so they put everything on the cement in front of the magnometer, which is only about 15 cm wide. After they go through the magnometer, they go back in order to get their things and then back through again to exit the checkpoint area.
The area in front of the turnstile of the checkpoint is not well defined so that, if there are a lot of people, a chaotic jumble ensues, people are pushed and there is a lot of anger and turmoil. It reminds one of waiting for the bus which is late, and people have already been waiting a long time so they are tired and irritable.
We spoke with one of the soldiers at the checkpoint, who said that this area is under Israeli jurisdiction. It is amazing how the concept of the "occupation" is not clear to the ordinary person.
06:50 Habla checkpoint
Military personnel stop us and others at the entrance to the path leading to the checkpoint; there are many soldiers and they are not allowing people to go through up to the checkpoint. However, after a discussion, they allowed us to go through on foot.
07:10 - The checkpoint seems to be operating as usual, the line has disappeared. A few people are going through on foot. We returned to the soldiers to make sure that, despite the "closing" on the road, they will allow the buses bringing children to get to the school. And indeed, after we explained to the commander (a reserve soldier who said that until he is ordered not to let them through he lets them through) everything proceeded quietly. At around 07:30, the school bus went through.
All the confusion occurred, as we heard from some local people who explained: at 06:00 some inspectors with IDF guards had destroyed the vegetable stand which stood outside one of the nurseries, which are actually in the seam area. One's heart breaks on seeing the wrecked equipment and part of the vegetable merchandise rolling in the mud. According to the local people, the owner of the stand did not get any evacuation order before the destruction and wasn't present when it happened.
We spoke with the head of the guard, a reserve officer, quite pleasant, a farmer in civilian life. He simply believes that he is doing what the state tells him to do - keeping the law. This is what Hannah Arendt calls the "banality of evil."
08:00 - Checkpoint Eliyahu is quiet, a few vehicles are being inspected, and no one is in the pedestrian track.