'Azzun 'Atma, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Wed 18.9.13, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
The soldiers’ belief that the land has been promised to the Jews by a god in the form of a male angel maintains the routine running of the checkpoint. That’s what we learned in Azzun Atma.
At Azzun Atma we also received confirmation that Palestinian employment depends on the Jewish calendar. Sukkot eve is a short workday in Israel. So at 6 in the morning, an hour when there are usually a few dozen people at the checkpoint to reach their jobs in Israel, today relatively few are here. Given that Palestinians living far away also must cross here, the few hours they’ll be at work apparently aren’t worth the hours they must spend travelling back and forth.
The soldiers at the checkpoint must be bored. When we arrived the commander demanded we not stand near the inspection booths, but a few minutes later called us: “May I ask you a question?”, asking us to come closer. We had a conversation with him and other soldiers during which we were (again) exposed to the aforementioned belief. What’s there to say in reply…?
At the checkpoint, “every bastard’s a king.” If a few minutes ago we were respectfully invited to stand near the inspection booths, a junior officer arrived and demanded we move away.
We left at 06:45. On our way we drove to see where the Tamar checkpoint had stood – an open gate preventing access to Highway 55, a metal led path, coils of wire on both sides, a concrete tower, and beyond a concrete wall with an opening to the path – evidence of the arbitrary nature of control over Palestinian movement.
07:13 Habla also operates as usual: five people approach the inspection point, a soldier opposite them with weapon drawn, pickup trucks loaded with seedlings, a trailer loaded with earth pulled by a pickup truck, its owner shoveling through it to show the soldier that nothing’s hidden underneath. Remember: the cart is heading for the area captured in 1967, not, god forbid, toward Israel. Buses transporting pupils to the village school are also inspected. Today we saw young boys taken off for additional inspection.
07:56 We left as three cars were on line to leave the village.
08:07 A few Palestinians wait at the Eliyahu crossing checkpoint.