'Azzun 'Atma, Habla
An ordinary day of occupation, checkpoints operating efficiently, relaxed, as though people are actually going abroad. Nevertheless, if you remove the veil, the transgressions are revealed.
06:10 'Azzun 'Atma
There are a lot of workers outside, almost none in line. Efficiency rules,and there are 3 inspection booths and 5 coffee kids.
A man who looks quite elderly is begging for something from the other side of the gate. The Ecumenicals bring him over to us, and by talking through the fence, we find out that he went through (we don't know how) and went to Kfar Kassem yesterday and was caught there. They took away his documents - his ID and a copy of his permit allowing him to be within the seam area and, when he came to the checkpoint to ask for their return, they told him to come today.
Today - No one knows where his documents are. The DCO officer, who really tries to help, is busy with telephone calls to try and locate the documents which were supposed to be in the Military Command Post. Why couldn't they just leave them here, where they would be accessible? Just so. If they can't find his ID, he will have to go to the Palestinian coordination office and submit a request, and who knows how long that might take, and meanwhile he simply doesn't exist. He has no proof of his identity.
In the corner behind the inspection booths, there is a detainee sitting. He has a travel permit for work, but yesterday, for some reason, he didn't return in the evening and only got to the checkpoint at 05:00 and he is forbidden to sleep in Israel. So, he is detained until the soldiers are given an order from their commanding officer as to what to do with him,
06:50 The short line is finished and remains empty until we leave.
There are no people at the checkpoint in line, and anyone who arrives, goes straight through. The "Container" shed has been cleaned and washed but the dirt path in front of it is full of waste that wasn't collected. According to the nursery owner, he was the one who cleaned it.
The pump is locked shut; last Thursday, the Swedish Ambassador was here with the co-ordinating officer, but, meanwhile, there are no new results from this meeting.
A school bus arrives, but 2 women get off - teachers? They go through the inspection booth to the other side. One child is left on the bus and everyone went through. We don't understand why there are no students, maybe some kind of vacation. Before we had time to ask, the bus had already left. Little by little the stream of people increases, but there is never a serious line. All the nursery vehicles arrive with plants and a few workers.
At 08:00, when the soldiers want to close the gate, people from the Palestinian office of agriculture arrive to inspect the nurseries and give instructions, but their car doesn't have a travel permit for this location, but for the Eliyahu Gate. There was co-ordination, but it didn't quite reach here and now there are a lot of phone calls; one can assume that, in the end, the issue will be resolved and everyone will go through. We didn't wait to see, since we had to get a signature for a power of attorney . He has been charged with stealing oranges from his own grove which is in the seam area. The wonders of occupation. He himself is totally impoverished, with 6 children who all suffer from a kind of paralysis starting at age 15. But that is another story.