'Azzun, Eliyahu Crossing, Falamiya, Jayyus, Kufr Jammal, Sun 30.6.13, Morning
06:10 Eliyahu checkpoint
There are still a lot of workers waiting for inspection, and more workers still arriving through the fenced path over the road. There are about 5 vehicles at the checkpoint. We were pleased to see that, at the turnoff to Qalqilya, they are widening the road and we wondered who was responsible for this improvement. On the way back, we got an answer - the crossroads is to be called "Tzofin Crossroads". Went by way of Nebi Aliias, quiet.
06:20 The entrance to 'Azzun was open, the cement blocks remain on the side.
We hoped to arrive on time at the agricultural gate of Jayyus. At the turnoff from the road to the dirt road, the road was very disturbed as they are quarrying in the mountain nearby (not clear to us what is the purpose of this), and they were also laying a new pipe at the side of the road; so, we arrived at the gate at 06:32, and found it locked, with no one around. The gate and the fence were sooty and it looked as if there had been a fire at the fence. We asked about it at the DCO: had this gate been open and what were the opening hours. The very polite female soldier answered that the gate had been open, and the hours are: 05:30-06:30 in the morning; 12:15-13:15 in the afternoon, and the evening from 16:00-17:00.
The checkpoint was open and this one too was sooty. A pedestrian arrived from the direction of Jayyus, a private car with an entrance permit was waiting for inspection; two tractors were traveling on the patrol road in the direction of the far away entrance.
07:00 A large truck arrived with 6 workers from Jayyus, after going through the inspection which they all passed.
07:15 A car with 4 passengers went through after inspection.
07:30 A tractor with 7 men and women arrives and goes through.
Three soldiers came up to us and asked if we were from MachsomWatch. One of 56them said that he saw our clip -n YouTube, but wanted us to explain why we come to the checkpoints. A discussion developed and, despite the people who scream at them not to talk to us at all, they continue to talk with us and seem genuinely interested in what bothers us so much and how we see the future and how is it that we, 2 middle-aged women, are not afraid to travel alone among the villages in our private car. I don't think that we succeeded in convincing them, but at least they listened to our explanations and the monstrous image given us was slightly deflated. Personally, I think these discussions with the soldiers (particularly when they don't listen and only utter the slogans provided for them) have a lot of importance (I know this will make some people angry).
Since the conversation was lengthy, we didn't get to the checkpoint at Habla, but went to Kfar J'mal, to our friend, Z., the owner of the grocery shop mentioned in Naomi's report. We went the long way, through the flowering tobacco fields, with the scent of za'atar and green "meluchia". Squashes are everywhere, and there are grape vines, guava and lemon orchards. A woman who passed by in her orchard gave us lemons straight from the tree. We thought to ourselves, if only it were possible to live this way, side by side in harmony, one respecting the other, it could be paradise here.
We stopped at Kafr Jammal. Z. and his wife received us with friendliness and coffee, as usual. I want to add a number of facts to Naomi's report. True that the village does not suffer from the aggression of settlers, but there are other problems. For instance: The son of Z.'s permit which allowed him to work in the herb fields on the other side of the fence was taken away suddenly. Only with our intervention was it returned. The agricultural gate opposite Sla'it is not open in the afternoon, because its hours are co-ordinated with the security officer of Sla'it and not according to the needs of the farmers. There are farmers who have olive groves to which they are permitted to go through the agricultural gate; however, there are 5 additional gates that the army closed two years ago and open only during the harvest. A lot has been written on this subject and, only 2 months ago, another list of farmers affected by this was drawn up. Also, the head of the DCO, Adel, tried to take care of the matter but, for "security reasons", he didn't succeed. Also, moving the fence to its new position did not solve this problem. Some farmers are still left outside the fence.
We returned by way of the Eliyahu checkpoint with no problem.