'Azzun 'Atma, Habla

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Rachel A., Dina A. (reporting) Translator: Charles K.

The crossing through ‘Azzun Atma is slow.  During the hour we were there soldiers closed the crossing three times, for a few minutes each time.  We didn’t know the reason because we saw nothing unusual.  Each time it was closed people waiting shouted and were annoyed; they’d risen very early to get to work on time.  We were left with the sad impression that the very young soldiers operating the checkpoint are fooling around.  I hope that’s not the case.


06:15  ‘Azzun Atma

We estimate some 60-70 people are waiting on line.  Today there’s an innovation: some people enter through a gate in the fence (not through the revolving gate where people wait on line), bypassing the line.  We asked Palestinians who’d come through about the change in routine.  They said men over 45 are allowed through today without waiting on line.


06:35  A police pickup truck stopped at the gate.  Palestinian prisoners emerged, their ankles cuffed, most very young.  The police released their cuffs and they entered ‘Azzun Atma.

Two policemen addressed us:  you’re not allowed to be here, let’s see your IDs, this is a military area.  After we told them we’ve stood here for years – they can confirm with the DCL – they relented.  But they still asked to see Rachel’s ID and copied the information; we don’t know why, nor do we know why they asked only for hers.

A person at the end of the line whom we timed took 35 minutes to cross.

06:50  Still about 60 people on line; it’s not getting shorter.  The soldiers closed the entry to the revolving gate; we don’t know why.  People on line began shouting.

06:55  The revolving gate reopened; some people left the line and entered through the gate in the fence (over 45?).  A female soldier again orders the checkpoint closed; the revolving gate and the gate in the fence close.

07:00  The line is still long, about 70 people.

07:02  The gate opens in the fence and people begin entering.  People on the long line at the revolving gate begin pushing and shouting.

07:05  The revolving gate opens, people start to cross.

We spoke to a few people who’d come through the gate.  All complain about how long it takes.

07:07  The revolving gate is blocked again.  Yelling on line again.

The gate reopens two minutes later.

07:15  The line shortens.  About 30 people waiting.


07:50  Habla.  No one on line, everything’s peaceful.  A donkey cart, a commercial vehicle, a horse cart and a truck go through.

08:00  The gate closes; everyone has crossed.