'Azzun 'Atma, Habla
All over the world, all a person needs in order to maintain a respectable, decent existence are health, education, food, a roof, and means of making a living. These are the difficulties we observe daily with the Palestinian laborers, who try to obtain work in Israel and are so often forced to turn back disappointed, without employment. This time we were heart-broken when some Palestinians, attempting to sell agricultural merchandise but lacking a permit, were turned back with their wares. How will they be able to make a living?
6:05: Azzun-Atme CP. An unusually long line, some 60-70 people waiting on line. On our way, we already noticed a lone soldier attempting to detain people passing through the fence. Near the CP there were the "detainees": a cart plus a donkey plus vegetables, intercepted on their way to market in Kafr Kasm or Ornit. Outside the gate stood a group that had already crossed over on this cold morning,now trying to warm up in the shelter of the roofing or with small bonfires.
Five "coffee-boys" were there. Apparently this offers a worthwhile income as one of the boys reported that last week he had earned 30 NIS! Schools had been reopened and the boys were going back to school on time.
A soldier hurried to assist his friend who was busy at the fence with trespassers. This of course lowered the number of soldiers at the gate, which was operating at a slow pace. Again, the soldiers were unsuccessfully trying to get rid of us at the gate. Nearby, near the gate, we noticed the detained cart-driver but couldn't approach him. 20 persons passed through in five minutes, new arrivals filling in the line. At 06:30 the cart-driver was released and was on his way back to Azun-Atma. Two further carts laden with vegetables were intercepted. They were led by youngsters, probably 12 and 15 years old. Again, the carts were tied to the fence and the kids were seated near the CP.
07:00: Habla CP: A small line, few passed through already. An easterly cold wind sweeps by and it is cold, though thethermometer showed a
mere 17 degrees. A youth, 15 years old, employed at a nursery, is out of the school system.
7:20: A school bus from Arb-e- Rammadin heads for school at Habla. Three workmen return
from the seam-zone to Habla, despair of securing employment for the day and hurried back to pass through the CP before it closes women escorting a cancer-patient to Tel Hashomer arrives and both pass through safely.
7:30: Late arrivals pass through, cars, pick-ups laden with saplings, donkeys and mules. People are in a smiling mood, greeting us: good morning, sweet(honey) morning, morning of light and of roses – what a variety of well-wishing.
7:40: Some of the passers-through are manually checked. Six more men return to Habla, having failed to get employment.7:45: The final passers-through run through before closing of the gate.