'Azzun 'Atma, Habla

Hannah A., Shoshi A. (reporting and photographing)

Translation: Tal H.


5:35 Azzun Atme Checkpoint - 4 children are running around selling coffee. Dozens of Palestinians who have completed their inspection procedures are waiting for their rides. 5 campfires are lit along the way, with Palestinians warming themselves around them while waiting for their rides to work. The two inspection posts are open and workers cross without delay.

A soldier approaches us, announcing that we are not allowed to take photographs for this is a military zone. He asks who we are, I show him our MW tag. He wants to know whether we think the checkpoint should be dismantled. We do not argue. We have come to see how things are run here.

6:00 one of the Palestinians asking to cross the checkpoint is turned back after his papers are inspected. He returns without further discussion. Outside a man from Umm Al Fahm awaits two workers, asks who we are and praises our activity. We wonder about the waiting lines not being as long as usual. Perhaps because it's Thursday. Or for some other reason.

6:25 Habla Checkpoint - dozens of Palestinians await crossing from the village side.

6:30 Soldiers and Military Policewomen get organized and the checkpoint opens on time (see photo). The first group of five Palestinians enters the checking post through the turnstile. Passage is swift. More groups get through. People smile at us and greet us "good morning!"

6:45  A car and a cart get through. One of the people coming out says to us: "These are fine soldiers" ! Apparently, when they want, soldiers can carry out the inspections and operate the checkpoint politely and with no extra humiliation.

6:50 Everyone who arrives enters the inspection post and comes out directly. Passage is swift, no long waiting lines an we wonder whether this is all coincidence.