Falamya North and South
The gates open and close for the allotted time - half an hour. On the face of it, the farmers have grown used to the occupation routine. Their desires are very modest. Only that the gates open and close as scheduled, and that the MP will treat them like human beings, and primarily that he not delay them. And not prevent them from reaching their land. “Everything’s OK,” “the soldiers are OK.” Only one youth says in reply to our question: “ Nothing’s OK. The land is ours. We have to go through a checkpoint. Five at a time (the soldier lets people through in groups of five), advance, go back…” and thus summarizes the absurdity of military checkpoints between farmers and their land.
On our way to Falamya we drove via ‘Azzun to drop off clothing at Z.’s second-hand store. It was closed so we left the parcels with the neighboring greengrocer and continued on. The checkpoint at the entrance to ‘Azzun wasn’t manned.
Gate 935 (Falamya South) Hours: 15:50-16:20
We arrived at 15:40. 4-5 tractors already waited for the gate to open. The MPs arrived exactly at 15:50 and opened the gate. The farmers are quickly inspected; in the case of an elderly couple and young man on a tractor, only the young man got down for inspection. About ten minutes later two more tractors arrived, the second loaded with lovely, fat lemons. Overall, traffic was pretty light. 24 people went through, 20 men and 4 women, in 10 minutes. When there was no one waiting, R. moved closer to the emplacement and tried to talk to the soldiers. She called their attention to the lovely landscape surrounding them and to the storks flying overhead. But then a tall MP emerged from the jeep and told us: you’ve come to do your work, move back. You’re interfering with my soldiers (who sat idly). At least he recognized we’re doing our work. One of the farmers at the crossing invited us to his home in Jayyous for coffee.
Gate 914 (Falamya North) 16:25-16:50
We arrived at 16:30. The gate was already open and a few dozen farmers were coming out. Many young men and children wandered around, on foot or on bicycles. Those crossing said hello to us and in response to our question replied: Everything’s ok, everything’s ok. Only one young man stopped and said: “Everything’s OK? No. Nothing’s OK. It’s our land. Why must we go through a checkpoint? And the soldiers – advance, go back, five by five, why?? – That’s OK?” That took care of everything. What could be OK when a gate and checkpoints are stuck between people and their land? The term “agricultural gates” doesn’t make it any better.
We drove back on the road being rebuilt between Falamya and Bet Jamal. They’re still working but you can already use it. We stopped at our friend’s grocery. We were received with a broad smile by him and his wife who immediately asked us to sit, and offered us coffee and tea.
Our hosts told us that a few days earlier a 17-year-old youth tried to go through the fence to work in Israel and the soldiers killed him. Now they come every night and arrest his brothers, one after the other. Otherwise, there’s no news…
The entrance to ‘Azzun wasn’t manned on our way back either.