'Azzun 'Atma, Bruqin, Kifl Harith, Kufr alDik
Kifl Haris, Bruqin, Kafr ad Dik, ‘Azzun ‘Atma.
The purpose of the trip was to inform the new members of events on the West Bank in addition to what they learned during the bus tour.
13:45 We left from the Rosh Ha’ayin train station.
14:15 Kifl Haris. A tour of the tomb of “Caleb ben Yefunah_ - a sheikh’s tomb in a Muslim cemetery. The location has become a pilgrimage site for Braslav Hassidim, under the auspices of the Israel Chief Rabbinate. These auspices also allow them to riot from time to time late at night in the village, shatter gravestones and throw rocks at the inhabitants’ homes.
After buying some clothes at a village store we drive on.
To the Salfit checkpoint which once operated, and then toward Bruqin. On the way we could see pools of sewage that flows from Ariel toward the villages, polluting their lands and making the milk of the cows grazing among the sewage unhealthy to drink. In Bruqin the mosque recently set on fire by settlers rises prominently among the village houses.
We continue toward Kafr ad Dik. On the rise across the way we see houses of the Leshem settlement and new building beginning next to them all along the ridge. A military vehicle and 8-10 soldiers stand at the access road to Alei Zahav. We reach the entrance to Deir Balut. A few months ago it was possible to enter the village unimpeded. Now red signs have been erected warning Israelis not to enter. On the way back, on the “settlers’ road,” we can clearly see the expansion of Paduel settlement, the industrial buildings of Alei Zahav, and the wall of boulders surrounding the Leshem settlement.
15:30 We reach the ‘Azzun ‘Atma checkpoint via Highway 5. The flow of people returning from work and passing through the checkpoint slowly increases, and remains orderly. A soldier admits people on line one by one, quickly. They’re inspected without delay and exit toward the vehicles transporting them home. Reservists stationed there tell us the checkpoint is open 24 hours a day, to serve the Palestinians. But talking with an Israeli driver from Lod, who works transporting to work those who come through the checkpoint in the morning and returning them in the afternoon, we learn that the soldier’s account is inaccurate, to say the least. The driver says that people arrive at the checkpoint at 02:00 and wait until it opens at 05:00. Often the soldiers are late and the opening is delayed. Even if the delay is only 20 minutes, some people won’t be able to get to work on time and they return home. The soldiers’ indifference to the schedule to which they’re supposed to adhere means a lost day of work for people who have such difficulty earning their meager pay.
17:00 Back to Rosh Ha’ayin.