'Azzun 'Atma, Beit Iba, Qalqiliya, Mon 30.3.09, Morning
5.50 The Eliyahu crossing.
Many workers are waiting to go through the x-ray but it seems that they have a person who is keeping order. Between the care which are waiting to pass into Israel is also a cart with a donkey. We want to get to Azzun Atma early . We go through Isbet Tabib to the blocked Azzun and from there through the cillage of Tulat, Sinira . There are paved pavements and even gardening at the side of the road.
6.20 Azzun ATMA.
At the entrance are 4 cars and everyone including the drivers are checked by the magnometer and the drivers go back to get their cars and go through a quick check at the gate. The checking is very quick and the reserve soldiers very polite and even know some of those passing and greet them. All the time cars arrived with workers who again have to pass through the checking at the exit of the village in the direction of road 505 and it is not clear why they have to go through this careful checking again at the exit. We spoke to a contractor who employs 50 workers at Elkana and both he and his workers have the necessary permits and in spite of that he has to go through 5 checkpoints in the morning and all are very close one to the other. Teachers and pupils are not checked.
7.00 We left the checkpoint and went to south Qalqiliya. The checkpoint is on the road to the Chabla tunnel which passes under road 55. It reminds us of the late Ar-Ras checkpoint and stands as that did between Palestinian villages which are under the "finger" of the fence. From there one can see the village of Ras Atiah.
4 soldiers man the checkpint and were very surprised to see us and did not feel threatened by us and passed the driver through quickly and politely.
8.00 We go back through the villages and meet many children going to school. The shops opened in the meantime and there is much traffic. We go back through Isbet tabib which is next to the garage on road 55 and go to the Chaviot Checkpoint through the crossroad of Jit which is open.
8.20 The chaviot checkpoint (Formerly Beit Iba).
At the entrance in the direction of Nablus there is no line because there is no checking and even no necessity to wait for a soldier to wave his hand and the traffic strams past. Ony when a car with an Israeli number arrives is the traffic held up. Most of the cars are sent back and only those with special permits are allowed to pass. ( We saw such a truck). At the exit of Nablus the situation is different. Now and again a car is sent to the side and the dog trainer checks it very thoroughly. Other cars go through with no checking and no delay. The checking of an empty van took the dog 15 minutes. It smelt the doors, the windows, crept under the car, got on to the back part and walked on the seats. When the search had finished the angry driver cleaned the seats and passed us venting his anger and we could only agree. The commander came up to us, introduced himself and asked us to stand at the side of the road because of its being so narrow. He said we could photograph the checkpoint and the soldiers but not the dog trainer. We did not argue as we did not film at all. Here also we were impressed by the quiet and to the point procedure.
9.05 We leave. 9.15 Anabta. We meet Kamal, the taxi driver who tells us of his daughter who is about the give birth and we congratulate him. He says that he is making a better living in this season. We see that there is a line of cars at the entrance to the checkpint and about 17 cars waiting but not moving. The soldiers check all the cars entering Tulkarm. Sometimes just a question as to where you are going and sometimes IDs and sometimes the baggage including going through it. It takes about a minute and cars take 17-20 minutes to get through. When the soldiers get tired the wait is longer. Here at this checkpoint they still have to wait for the soldiers to wave them forward. At the exit there are no lines because there is no checking.
Can someone explain to us what the logic of the army is that those entering Qalqiliya are carefully checking and not those exiting? We will be very happy to get creative explanations.
10.00 We leave. We look at checkpoint Ar-Ras from a distance and see cars going through freely on their way home