'Azzun 'Atma, Habla
Azzun Atma, Habla, Tuesday, 19.11.13, morning
Many people waiting at both checkpoints; arguments and fights broke out at both among those
waiting on line. Soldiers at the Azzun Atma checkpoint threw a smoke grenade to deter people.
It’s definitely unusual to encounter two such incidents in the course of a single shift. How
much anger builds up in people who must wait on line like this every day and be inspected by
soldiers? We have no answer. We returned home with heavy hearts – what does this tense
06:05 Azzun Atma checkpoint
The line is moderately long, congested, about 50 people waiting to leave for work. Soldiers
say good morning to us, ask us to bring them goodies – that’s what the settlers do, they tell
us. They ask what we want; we tell them we want peace. The line moves reasonably quickly;
there’s no crowding at the revolving gate.
The children from the village who sell coffee want to leave through the gate to sell coffee for
a shekel to people waiting outside, but aren’t permitted to do so. We asked the soldiers why
they don’t let them; they say it’s forbidden, that all the other times the children went through
holes in the fence. Strange – we usually bought coffee from the children whenever we came to
06:35 People in the crowded line began to yell, and then fights broke out. The soldiers threw
a smoke grenade (which made a lot of noise) and shut the entrance to the revolving gate. One
soldier called to us, “That’s the peace you want?” As if there aren’t Israelis who lose their
temper and fight.
06:40 The gate reopens.
It took about half an hour for a person to get through the checkpoint, after taking into account
the time it was closed. On our way back we saw many holes in the fence.
07:00 Habla checkpoint.
The gate is open; it opened at 06:30 and many people have already gone through. Many
are still waiting on line. This line isn’t calm either; people began shouting and fighting. A
Palestinian who exited said it’s congested because the soldiers aren’t working quickly.
07:05 The bus transporting girls to school in Habla arrived; the driver entered to arrange
The soldiers closed the crossing, apparently because of the shouting and confusion on line.
07:09 The crossing reopened.
07:15 The school bus began moving, a Palestinian opened the vehicle gate and closing it
afterwards, then complained: We have to do that too? The soldiers are busy with inspections.
A jeep exited the gate and again a Palestinian opened and closed it.
A truck and a pickup exited, a horse cart loaded with vegetables, another pickup.
07:40 The line is still relatively long.