'Azzun, 'Isla, Habla
The Habla CP 1393 was opened on time. Slow checking. The Palestinians are in a hurry to reach their place of work on time. There are no complaints today. They got used to the fact that the gate is opened on preordained times and that they have to undergo checks.
5:55 – Habla CP – 1393. From the plant nursery side. On the patrol road, next to the gate, a military police car is parked. Soldiers turn around the checking booth. On the other side of the gate, the Palestinian side, one can see some dozens of people.
It was made clear to us that the area is a military zone and that it was forbidden to take photographs there.
The gate was opened a few minutes after 6:00 but the checking was slow. The Palestinians pass through the gate after the checking in groups of 5 and march quickly on the road to their place of work. Most of them are headed to the plant nurseries. A vehicle with Israeli number plates waits for some. Most of them arrive from Habla and Kalkilya. Within half an hour 40 people passed. Palestinian cars and a horse and cart passed as well. There seems to be a flexibility in the conduct of the army.
6:40 – we left the gate. We continued in the direction of Azun with the intention to reach the Palestinian side of the Beit Amin CP – 1447 – before its opening time. Inside Azun the road leading to Abu Salaman is blocked because of road works. We decided to change direction and to find out where the Hirbat Assla CP was situated.
Hirbat Assla CP – 1231 – The gate was probably opened and shut on time. It is hardly active at all. They complained that they could not return at
noon and were obliged to wait until the evening, so that only few people used it .
short time after 7:00 we arrived at the village and from there we entered a dirt road leading to the CP. Opposite us, on the ridge, we could see the houses of Alfey Menashe. About a quarter of an hour later an old Palestinian riding a donkey arrived. He talked good Hebrew. Until about 12 years ago
he had worked in Israel, at Ra'anana and Tel Aviv. He was waiting for the opening of the gate in order to reach his olive grove which was situatied on the other side of the separation fence and to his za'atar field. He said that almost nobody passes through this gate. Usually only about two people arrive. The reason – the gate is opened the second time only at 5:00 p.m. The authorization he has is limited to the Assla gate. He cannot return by another gate. As to the adherence to the time schedule – there was no problem for him.
We decided to continue to the Alfey Menashe settlement and to meet the man on the other side of the gate. After a few attempts to reach the gateitself we gave up. Finally we reached a lane – Rakeffet. On the hill's slope one could see the separation fence and the Issla gate. We got the impression that the only possibility of reaching the gate from the Alfey Menashe side was by walking through the olive grove. We arrived at 8:00 – that's to say about 10 minutes after the closure of the gate. The Palestinian whom we had met about half an hour before wasn't to be seen anymore. We assumed that he had in the meantime reached his plot.