'Azzun 'Atma, Habla, Jayyus

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Rachel Alon, Nura Rash (reporting). Translator: Charles K.

06:00  ‘Azzun Atma

There were surprisingly few people at the checkpoint when we arrived.  We asked the soldiers (who’d come over to talk on their own initiative); they said the MP’s are letting people through quickly, without delays.  In fact, the soldiers conducting the inspections worked with no unnecessary delays.  But, and perhaps because the checkpoint wasn’t crowded, when the night shift workers from the Hanson factory arrived and walked directly to the entry gate to their village, as usual, the female soldiers sent them back, demanding they form a nice line and undergo the bureaucratic procedure one by one:  ID card, permit, fingerprint.  The DCL representative also stood at the gate; he approached us to talk a bit, sent regards to Tami.  It was also important for one of the soldiers to exchange a few words with us and have a discussion about the checkpoint’s importance.  The soldiers are from an artillery unit.  Apparently the army must sometimes refresh those stationed here and include among the checkpoint defenders soldiers from various military corps and units.


07:00  Habla

Few were crossing today here also, though as closing time approached their number increased slightly.  The MP on guard outside the emplacement chooses one or two men from each group of five coming through inspection for an additional check:  “You…you…come here…”  Usually all five approach because they’re not sure who he means; he sends some through and again inspects the IDs and bags of food of those selected.  It’s obvious the possibility this procedure is humiliating doesn’t occur to any of the soldiers.  The Palestinians have apparently gotten used to it as well (or pretend to).  But no-one gets off scot-free:  our amusing, Hebrew-speaking friend arrives with his flock of sheep.  The sheep and bellwether aren’t sufficiently familiar with the problems involved in a “border crossing” and pass between the gatesinfo-icon, followed by the shepherd.  And then it turns out that they hadn’t really received permission, and the MP calls to the Palestinian, asks for his ID, takes the permit and orders him to bring the flock back by 8:00 in order to get his permit back.  No argument availed; the shepherd ran to turn the flock around back to Habla…



We took the wrong road and instead of reaching Falamiya we wound up at the Jayyus agricultural gate that’s not open at this hour+ (08:45).