'Azzun 'Atma, Thu 14.8.08, Afternoon
There’s a powerful odor of sewage at the checkpoint. The sewer goes in ditches on both sides of the road. You can’t see the direction from which the flow comes because it winds between fences, but everyone with whom we spoke says that the sewage comes from the settlement of Sha’arei Tikvah (“Gates of Hope”) whose houses overlook the checkpoint. This is logical when you evaluate the alternatives for the possible course of the flow.
Two men are sitting at a distance of twenty meters from the checkpoint; they are being detained by the soldiers. An additional two detainees are standing beside the concrete cube structures, near another twelve people who are waiting to have their documents inspected. The four detainees testify to waiting for over an hour and a half. Four cars are waiting in a queue in the direction of ‘Azzun ‘Atme. Ten minutes after we arrived, the checkpoint commander calls to the detainees and releases them. The inspection of pedestrians also finished, and no one was detained (although part of those who pass through also weren’t from ‘Azzun ‘Atme, the reason for the others’ detention).
From the other side, seven cars are waiting to be inspected.
A rifle is pointed at the Palestinians from a distance of several meters during the inspection of their documents and belongings. The pedestrians are directed to put their belongings on the ground for inspection; in one instance the [female] soldier drops a passage permit on the ground and motions for the pedestrian to pick it up, and he obeys.
Two people are in a vehicle without license plates and the soldiers don’t agree for them to pass through, the driver tries to explain. An argument develops, during which the checkpoint commander shouts at the two. Half an hour later, the owner of the vehicle arrives with its documents, and the two and the vehicle are released.
At the checkpoint, it’s only possible to inspect vehicles coming in either one direction or the other, not both at once. A long queue developed, of vehicles wanting to enter ‘Azzun ‘Atme.
At 17:15 there were 15 vehicles in one direction and 4 in the other. Going into ‘Azzun ‘Atme, those sitting in the cars (mostly women and children) were required, by order of the soldiers, to get out of the vehicle and go through the inspection “maze” for pedestrians. The driver, on the other hand, remained in the car, presented his ID card and the contents of the glove compartment – and then would go to wait for his passengers on the other side. “Go back – I won’t allow you to pass through until you’re orderly.” The female soldier organizes a queue for the Palestinians who are at a distance of 15 meters from her, waiting to be inspected at the end of their workday.
“What’s happening today that the passage is fast?”-
“Because you’re standing here, everything’s all right”-
“Suddenly they’re hurrying, Hello/Goodbye to you, Shabbat Shalom”-
“Do something; you’re just standing around”-
“The officer talks about you rudely, says that you’re a …. [slang word for a loose woman]”-
“Come in the morning too!”-
“Usually on Thursdays I wait three hours – come here more!”-
“The most important is for you to come on Sunday-Monday from six to eight in the morning, and on Thursdays”
After half an hour during which another young man was detained, he was released. The checkpoint commander, on his own initiative, shouts in our direction that the fellow was held because he was waiting for the police, and when none arrived, he released the detainee. He told us that he’d been calling the police since the morning, but none came to the CP.
Note that we stood on both sides of the CP (the other side being in Area B) with no particular troubles.
18:49 – we left when the number of vehicles and pedestrians dwindled.