'Azzun 'Atma, Eliyahu Crossing, Falamiya, Habla
An ordinary occupation day; the gate closed for the people who arrived exactly at the closing hour; who cares if that means that the night guard won't be able to go home to sleep?
06:20 'Azzun 'Atma
A lot of people are already waiting outside, gathered in groups around bonfires to warm up - these are the people who got up extra early in order to make sure that they would get through the checkpoint in to get to work; now they are waiting for employers to come and take them to their workplaces. We won't enable the army to prevent us from getting to work, so we have to pay for the privilege with hours of lost sleep. The coffee boys are on the Israeli side this morning - they have now been allowed to earn a little money before they go to school. The coffee is diluted, but we want to help and support them.
Today the soldiers are pleasant and, naturally, this makes everything more efficient at the checkpoint. When we arrived, there were about 60 people but, by 06:50, the line had shortened even though more people are arriving all the time. According to the soldiers, the entrance to 'Azzun 'Atma from the other side (Beit Amin) is also manned and only those who live in 'Azzun 'Atma, or those who have a work permit for the seam area, are allowed to enter the village. So there is less sneaking through the holes in the fence. It seems as though this situation will continue as long as they have not finished the new fence, on which we have not seen any signs of work today.
The checkpoint area on the Palestinian side is full of trash, but it looks as though no one has responsibility for the area and no one cares.
Five people were arrested outside of the inspection booth; two of them were quickly released and seem to have gone through legitimately, but the soldiers who arrested them didn't believe them. The others were infiltrators who got through the fence and were caught. They will have to stand there for 2-3 hours and then be sent home.
The inspection of bags was, as usual, very annoying. There is no place to put them down and if someone comes with a lunch box, he has to take everything out, one by one, and hold them under his arms and only then is the soldier able to see everything that is in the lunch box. Why can't they find a table somewhere so that people can put their possessions on it and the whole process will be easier?
No line; most people went through and each person who arrived went right through. A childrens' bus goes through with no problem (only one arrived today, usually there are 2). Could it be that fewer people are going to work because of the rain or that the checkpoint was unusually efficient? Cars, horse carts, mules and donkeys are going through to the nurseries
A couple goes through - she is ill with leukemia and needs to get to Tel HaShomer Hospital 3 times a week. The cost of this is enormous, close to 1000 NIS/week. We made contact for them with "The Way to Healing", and hope they are able to help them about the traveling.
The checkpoint is starting to close. At the same minute, another 3 people arrive from Habla, one of them is the son of a man who went through the Eliyahu checkpoint and is waiting for him on the other side of the seam area. However, his son does not have the right to go through there and had to come to Habla. At the same time, the night guard from one of the nurseries arrives. But an hour is an hour and there are no exceptions. The soldiers continue to close the gate and the poor people go on their way and now what? not clear. Anyway, at least once a week the army is late in opening the gate - but they are permitted to be late. My father had a Latin expression for this, which could be translated as "Not everything allowed Caesar is permitted to a pig."
08:00 Eliyahu checkpoint
Six cars being inspected and 2-3 people are in the pedestrian line.
Quiet; a small Garden of Eden if there weren't a fence and a checkpoint here. One only has to look to the east to see that this is a Garden of Eden for za'atar. Vans go through and tractors (some coming from Jayyus, since the gate is already closed there), a cart with donkey and passengers, and even an empty truck.