'Azzun 'Atma, Eliyahu Crossing, Falamiya, Habla, Jubara (Kafriat), Mon 20.5.13, Morning
Palestinians go through holes in 'Azzun 'Atma’s security fence. The soldiers stationed at the checkpoint usually go out to search among those waiting outside for persons illegally in Israel. It isn’t clear why they don’t immediately repair the holes in the fence. Apparently the IDF doesn’t consider them very dangerous.
06:05 'Azzun 'Atma checkpoint
Many people have already come through; about 50 on line. The biometric fingerprint device is operating; each person going through must place a finger for identification. The ID is placed on a different device. That can take a long time, of course, if the identification isn’t successful due to erroneous placement of the finger, or it’s injured, or worn down from work. Personal belongings are left on a low, narrow concrete wall until their owner passes through the magnemometer; there’s no orderly procedure for leaving the belongings.
It took one man we timed from the moment he got on line 35 minutes to go through the checkpoint.
From time to time the soldiers go hunt for people who went through the holes in the fence and return those in Israel illegally to the West Bank. They pass among those waiting outside, question those waiting for their employers, send them back to the checkpoint to inspect their IDs. One man argued, insisting he’d come from the Eyal crossing and was unwilling to accompany the soldier to the checkpoint. There was a loud argument, until he relented and went with the soldiers so they could check his documents. After a discussion the soldiers are “right,” and they manage to convince him to go stand behind the checkpoint fence. It turned out that he had a crossing permit for Eyal that was valid from 7 AM; according to the soldier he couldn’t have already crossed. The procedure for those who went through the holes in the fence and were caught, and who had an Israeli work permit (there are such cases) is to be detained by the soldiers for three hours at the checkpoint and then allowed to go to work.
One of the soldiers (a reservist, of course) at the checkpoint talked to us and stressed repeatedly how he treats people going through with respect.
07:10 Habla checkpoint
No one is waiting on line.
A boys’ school bus goes through quickly after document inspection.
People keeping tricking in.
07:20 The girls’ bus crosses quickly after a fast document inspection.
One of the Palestinians tells us that a new DCO officer, Aliran, has replaced Tedesa, who completed his military service.
07:40 Eliyahu gate
Two cars are being inspected; no one is waiting on the pedestrian line.
Quiet and peaceful. They’re working on a new fence on the northern side, where people enter Israel, which will “enlarge” (after an appeal to the Supreme Court) the area “included” in Palestine, like at Jubara. Tractors arrive; their two drivers must open one of the closed gates on the road. The soldiers joke in the background. After the tractors cross the soldiers close the gate and again it’s quiet and peaceful. We stop at the beginning of the road to the checkpoint; it’s full of soldiers who don’t allow us to approach the checkpoint.
Very quiet; almost no one is visible. All the asphalt has been taken up from the line of the fence that was removed; the land looks as if it had been plowed. (Perhaps they could plant olive trees? We doubt it, given the infrastructure that’s undoubtedly beneath the surface.) We went into the grocery to ask how they feel after the fence separating the village from the West Bank was removed (after the Supreme Court decision). The owner of the grocery is very pleased: We can visit people on the West Bank, they come to the village, there are no more problems obtaining merchandise, there’s freedom.