'Azzun 'Atma, Habla
Habla, ‘Azzun ‘Atma
Cumulative tardiness between the Habla and ‘Azzun ‘Atma checkpoint. A quarter-hour delay at Habla swelled to 35 minutes at Oranit.
The workday there for agricultural laborers will start today after 9 AM.
New prohibitions have been added to the routine harassment – Palestinian sheep won’t be able to go through the checkpoint to graze on their land! The occupation knows it can depend on the “silence of the lambs.”
06:35 Habla. The gates are closed and there’s no sign of the soldiers. A few Palestinians were already waiting at the southeastern gate. We telephoned the DCL to report and complain.
A civilian car is parked in the area between the gates. A major emerged after a few minutes, and in response to our question about why they’re not opening said “the tracker is late.”
At 06:45 the soldiers arrived, MPs. Also in a civilian car, a rental.
Inspections proceeded at the usual rate. In addition to having to prove their innocence, Palestinians must now close the gate after themselves when they leave for the plant nurseries. When someone fails to do so, the female soldier reminds him: “Comrade, please close the gate.” The prisoner obediently plays his part in his incarceration.
A taxi driver standing off to the side waiting to transport laborers to their place of work is aggressively interrogated by the soldiers, particularly by the energetic female soldier. She says to her colleagues something like this: “I had a feeling there was a problem with him.” But it turned out there wasn’t any problem or…. The driver is angry, said “That soldier knows me, I wait for passengers here every day.”
Before we left a worried Palestinian approached us. For a week the soldiers haven’t permitted him to bring his flock of sheep through to graze on his land in the seam zone. He gave us his name, J., and asked us to find out what was going on. He’s offended, explains they know him, he has agricultural land in the area and suddenly his flock isn’t allowed through.
There was always a line of about thirty people waiting at the gate and it was clear the soldiers, who were late opening it, would have difficulty completing their inspections by 07:40, closing time.
The price of the delay was definitely paid by the Palestinians waiting at Gate 4, ‘Azzun ‘Atma/Oranit.
08:20 ‘Azzun ‘Atma. After driving in heavy traffic and losing our way, we were astonished to see the gate – which should have opened at 07:55 – was still closed. A taxi driver said he’s been waiting half an hour and no one’s come to open it.
Again we telephoned the DCL to complain.
A few minutes later the armored tracker appeared, refused to speak with us and continued toward Oranit. The soldiers arrived after him and opened the gate at 08:32! It’s clear that part of the work day is already lost.
At 08:45 a flock of sheep went through the gate, leaping happily toward the grazing ground. The energetic female soldier and a second soldier stopped the shepherd boy and told his father to take him and the sheep to ‘Azzun ‘Atma.
The Palestinian’s explanation, that he goes through here daily, and even went through yesterday, didn’t help.
Nor did our calls to the DCL.
Apparently, because of complaints by the owner of the flock and by us, the soldiers telephoned to determine the orders applying to the sheep. The answer was that they’re prohibited from crossing. The DCL’s replies to our call was, first, there’s no one available to respond because they’re at a ceremony and can’t come to the phone, and we should telephone the Palestinian DCL (the flock’s owner told us the Palestinians can’t do anything either. Only the Israeli DCL). Second, when we did finally reach Walid, he said there’s an order from the brigade not to let the flock cross. They’re discussing the matter.
(Apparently the National Security Council will have to be convened in order to decide.)