'Anabta, 'Azzun 'Atma, Ar-Ras, Thu 28.8.08, Afternoon
13:50 – We don't see any detainees. All the cars that want to enter Israel stand in one line, including settlers' cars. We don't stop.
Jaiyus Gate, West
14:20 – Paving the road to the gate is about to be finished (financed and carried out by the Palestinian Authority). The gate is open three times a day. We cannot gat to the gate because a concrete mixer that works here blocks the way down to the gate. We take a hitch-hiker, a Jaiyus resident, to Falama Gate south.
Falama Gate, south (927)
14:30 – Two soldiers are at the gate where there is an inspection post. The gate is open for passage for owners of permits 12 hours a day (instead of Jaiyus gate, west) from 06:00 to 18:00. The 2 kilometer road to the gate is a rough road. The way from the village of Falama to the gate is even worse.
West of the fence, there is a house with a nurtured garden. A family used to live there prior to the existence of the fence. Now the soldiers allow shepherds to stay there with the sheep over night.
15:00 - There are no cars in line. Changing of soldiers' shifts is taking place. The access road to the junction forces us and every car that gets there to jump from one pothole to another.
At the entrance to Hirbet Jubara, Gate 753, an old woman passes. The soldiers check the ID number comparing it with the list they have.
15:40 – At the entrance to Tulkarm there is no line, but at the exit the line is long and stretches to the curve of the road (26 cars according to our counting). As soon as we get there, the soldiers start working faster, letting cars pass with only random checks. The line gets shorter fast. Cars with Israeli licence plates pass.
18:25 – We enter the village from the direction of the road to Elkana. We go down to the checkpoint and park the car a small distance before the checkpoint.
To our relief, there are almost no pedestrians or cars at the exit from the village to the occupied territories. We come to stand near a group of pedestrians, aiming to see if the instruction we heard about a week ago, according to which people who return from Israel are not to be detained even if they don't have passage permits is carried out. We are glad to see that is indeed carried out and this is probably the reason why not many people were waiting to pass when we came.
The passage flows without interruption, pedestrians and cars simultaneously. Having been at the checkpoint for 20 minutes and seeing that the soldiers don't let cars pass into the village, we go to find out reasons. It turns out that the police told the soldiers not to let cars enter. We call the IDF Humanitarian Center but right then, the soldiers start letting the cars pass into the village. A police patrol car comes from the direction of the village and the policemen check licences of cars and, while doing it, blocking the road, of course.
[We stop at the village center to buy some fruit and vegetables (the lemons are IS 8.00 per kg.) and peek into the Internet café (no coffee) and the local billiard room. Both places have no air-conditioner but they provide entertainment to the village youths].
Again and again they bless and thank us for coming. They also ask us to come on Sunday mornings.