'Azzun 'Atma, Habla
'Azzun 'Atma, Habla
"Have a lousy day", wished us a woman soldier as part of her attempt to get us to leave the 'Azzun 'Atma CP. And it was indeed a lousy day. Not that the days are ever good in checkpoints (a checkpoint for us is any site geared to policing the movements of people in order to make them dependent on the graces of the lord of the land). But today, two young looking men were led by the soldiers from Route 505 (the road joining Route 5 with the settlements of Elkana and Sha'arei Tikva) towards the 'Azzun 'Atma CP, some minutes before 06:00. They were caught attempting to leave the jail known as "the territories" through a break in the separation barrier, in order to save the lengthy wait at the CP itself. The commander said that they have a permit. The two guys were made to sit on the cement (which today was very very cold in the CP), handcuffed.
We called the Humanitarian Center, and complained to S., who transferred us to the DCO. There, L. transferred us to (another) S, who said that having
checked with the brigade, detention of the two was following orders. And what about the handcuffing? She was more hesitant there, but after checking again said that unless there was violence ... (there wasn't). Half and hour later the guys were still in handcuffs, and S had nothing to add.
In addition: Young Palestinian kids rise early to help with their family's support by selling coffee and tea to the people passing the CP.
The rate of passage of those going through to their daily toils in the service of the Israeli economy was slow. A soldier disciplined the people, instructing them to only pass three at a time. We clocked passage at 25 minutes a person.
At 06:50 the rate was accelerated, and by 07:00 there was no lines at all.
07:15 -- We left, not before the soldier who had greeted us earlier asked if we wished to enter. "Into 'Azzun 'Atma?", we asked. "Yes". "We were just there", we replied. "Really? How was it?". "Fine". The commander promised to treat the detainees by the book.
07:30 - Habla
The routine of the checkpoint and its rules of passage: Five people at a time. Towards closing hour we saw a man who was denied passage, return to a waiting car, and drive into Habla.
07:58 A man arrived from the nurseries. The soldiers denied him passage. He doesn't always pass through here. He knows they close at 08:00. The soldiers show him a sign stating that they close at 07:45. The man retreats. The gates close. Those wishing to return to Habla/Qalqiliya from the fields and the nurseries will have to wait till noon. We left at 08:00.