'Azzun 'Atma, Thu 26.3.09, Morning

Rachel A-T, Esti V., Nava A
Translator : Orna B.

"It's not a checkpoint, it's a tapestry of life" said the Border Policman.

After losing our way slightly we reached the new checkpoint.
To the veterans among us this recalls Beit Iba checkpoint at the very beginning. The queue of Palestinians at a distant point, a massive concrete block at the side of the road, and two Border Police waive to the Palestinians to approach one by one, while a third soldier is in charge of secutiry.

We had a feeling that the army regretted losing the large concrete blocks, which were taken away from Beit Iba, and looked for a new place to deposit them.

The new gate stops the residents of Azun Etme (and of course all residents) from driving freely on the road leading to Route 5 and to Israel. Since part of the village is on the other side of the road, as well as the quarry and other workplaces, the army announced that anyone who wishes to pass will have to show a document proving he has a good reason for crossing the road.

Palestinians with permits to enter Israel are not allowed to cross there. They have to go through Eyal Passage - where they will be recorded by the electronic system.

The Palestinians gather by the new gate that was built at the edge of the village.  Those with permits go through. At times it requires the intervention of an employer waiting at the other end. The Border Policeman explains that he and the DCO travelled around all of last week, throughout the entire area on the other side of the road, and registered all the employers and their employees. By the side of the gate are waiting those who are refused entrance. There are those who want to shorten the journey and avoid going to Eyal Passage, there are those whose permit does not look right to the soldier. On the fence there is a hand written sign stating, according to the Palesinians, that from Sunday no one will go through the gate unless they have a valid permit. The routine of the occupation.

When we ask how come there was no checkpoint at this point in the past 40 years, a soldier volunteers the information that last week a terrorist went through here.