We haven't seen sights such as we saw today at the Habla CP for years.
On the one hand, when we arrived at 05:55, the soldiers were already at the CP, waiting for its official opening at 06:00. On the other hand, there was rummaging in bags, body searches, emptying of pockets, plastic bags, and luggage, lifting of coat hems, removing of hats; bewildered smiles on the Palestinians’ faces, who are forced to pass through the CP, one of them still greeting the soldier who is performing the checking: 'have a nice day'. A woman, smiling sadly, tells us: 'it’s difficult'. The repertoire of occupier-occupied relations goes on.
The number of people passing at the CP is similar to that of a few weeks ago, but, unlike in other times, men and women enter the CP area and stand in a single file that reaches the road between the fences. They approach the soldier who is checking them one by one, present their documents for a manual check, are asked questions and are also forced to undergo the physical searches. As the minutes go by the people who are forced to wait are eager to reach their destinations, and the line turns into a packed group. This is the moment to use the admonishment 'irga lavra', 'bass hamsa' and to wave them along like a sovereign.
At 07:15 two soldiers began checking in parallel, and at 07:25 the checking of those who pass on foot or on bicycles was terminated. Now the cars pass. The driver of one of the cars tells us, with the occupieds' sense of humour, "how are we doing regarding order? How do we manage the order? We have a diploma in this kind of thing". Wagon drivers and car owners who arrived around 7 o'clock to engo to Habla, passed last.
07:30– the CP closed.