'Azzun, Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
11:00. Ephraim Gate for back-to-back merchandice transfers.
Even before reaching the first gate the security guard rushed towards us, yelling. When we approached him, he signaled us to stop, as if we posed a danger (he himself was armed, of course), and demanded that we not move till his supervisor arrives. We’ve had endless arguments with the supervisor over where we could stand and what we could photograph.
11:30 Irtach CP
Nearly desolate. We approached the fence next to the entrance. The occasional Palestinian passed through the turnstiles towards the checking area. On the exit side, 2 small signs pointed to Israel and to Tulkarm. We stopped to photograph the new Center for Development of Israeli-Palestinian Commerce, and were given a tour of the interior. The guy in charge expressed hope that the place would soon serve for business meetings, and save the Palestinians the need to travel to Israeli towns. There will be a separate entrance to the Center operated by a magnetic card, which will be distributed to the Palestinian merchants. One such merchant we have met liked the idea and hoped it would work out.
Every now and then several Palestinians pass, solo or in groups, in this direction or that. They complained about the morning crowding, mainly between 6 and 7am, when the passers include laborers, families visiting prisoners, and merchants. One guy asked for our help in overcoming a police passage block, and we referred him to the right MW person. How did he pass without it? He has an agricultural pass to his fields near the village, on the Israeli side.
13:30 We returned through Tzofim CP on the way to Azzun. Since the road was being widened (for whom??), one lane was closed, and traffic was controlled by a traffic light.
13:45 No army at the entrance to Azzun.
14:00 Habla CP
People passing to Israel, some from Arab A-Ramdin. So does a truck loaded with tall trees, and some cars. The gates close on the minute. One soldier gets pissed off by our camera, and approaches threateningly. He was calmed by his mates.