Beit Amin Checkpoint (1447), Habla Checkpoint (1393)
‘Izbet Salman, Habla
The occupation routine. The soldiers arrive on time to open the gates. The Palestinian farmers know the drill. How to line up for inspection, exactly how far to stand from the inspection site. Thank god no one’s being particularly maltreated here today and some steps have even been taken to shorten the lines, but the question remains: why must people go through checkpoints in order to bring forth bread from their land? The days are longer. Why must someone who wants to remain an hour longer after 16:00 be considered illegally present on his own land?
‘Izbet Salman checkpoint 1447
15:40 The soldiers arrive, take their places in the shed. No one’s at the checkpoint.
15:50 The first farmers arrive. The soldiers open the gate, the Palestinians line up in order, about two meters from the soldiers, each person in turn states his ID number which is checked right there. Then he crosses. More farmers arrive and one tractor. Light traffic.
16:10 We left for Habla.
Habla checkpoint 1393
No sign is posted with the checkpoint’s hours. The only sign, in red, warns of danger.
16:25 About 15 people wait in the shade for the checkpoint to open. Nina approaches them and they immediately offer her the only available chair, plastic. One of the young men speaks fluent Hebrew. We ask him where he learned; he rattles off the various places he worked in Israel.
The soldiers arrived at 16:35 and immediately opened the checkpoint. About 80 people crossed, among them only two women. People enter in groups of five, as usual. For efficiency’s sake those entering are inspected in the building and those exiting – primarily vehicles with plants for the plant nurseries – in the shed. Later, when few are leaving Habla, the groups of five entering are inspected both in the building and in the shed. In that way the crossing is faster and no line forms. I want to photograph the woman going through the checkpoint erectly, a basket on her head. The policewoman yells that she shouldn’t. N. says the camera’s not interested in her, but in the woman. A car arrives to exit the checkpoint. It’s detained and finally sent back to Habla.
A young man whose eyes are light in color addresses us in English, wants to know who we are. He graduated in English from Al Najah and he has a certificate to teach English. But he doesn’t have a job. Having no choice, he works at the plant nursery. Hopes for the best. It seems he’s not yet one of those who’s given up. Another man approaches us and asks for Sylvia’s phone number, regarding his blacklisting. We provide it. A young man approaches us, tells us his mother is very sick and being treated in Kfar Sava. He has to bring her to the hospital but he’s blacklisted and there’s no one to transport her. We promised to find out Yuval Roth’s phone number, from The Road to Recovery. Nina gave him her phone number, but he hasn’t yet called.
16:56 The computer has already been turned off and the last arrivals are checked by hand. A person who shows up at the last minute is rebuked, but admitted.
The checkpoint closes exactly at 17:00.