Falamiya North Checkpoint (914), Falamiya South Checkpoint (935)
The occupation at its best (its worst); Everybody – soldiers and farmers – are disciplined and performing their tasks
We reach the gate at 05:55. A small number of people and tractors are waiting. More people and tractors (about 10) arrive during opening time, 06:00 - 06:30. It seems people are sure the gate will be open for half an hour so they keep coming until closing time. Our acquaintance since a long time ago, who speaks Hebrew, raises the question of what will happen after "your holidays" when the olive picking season starts and about 300 people must be let through in half an hour. We have no answer, not even knowing if 300 people will be allowed to cross. Another acquaintance, who arrives on his bike just before closing time, tells us that on the other side of the fence he has 60 dunams of land on which he grows olives, za'atar and many other crops. He is the only one who has received a permit. When we ask how he manages, his answer isn't very clear, but it's quite evident that the life of the farmers is hard and bitter, like one of them says , "our life is the worst…"
The seven soldiers in the morning shift are polite while performing their task according toregulations. At 06:00 they open the special pedestrian lane and in groups of five the Palestinians approach the check post. Their ID cards and permits are being checked. An army policeman keeps the tractor drivers' documents. Their ID numbers are being read out to be printed on the computer (to be checked on their return). Then they have to wait next to their tractors until their ID cards are returned before they drive through the big gate which opens when the pedestrian lane closes at 06:15.
At 06:30 we arrive at the Jayyus Gate (South Falamiya). The soldiers, who are there already, open the gate on scheduled time at 06:40 (until 07:10!!). They save themselves the trouble of unlocking and locking the pedestrian lane; everybody, people in groups of five and tractors, are being checked and let through at the big gate. When a man with a donkey hitched to a wagon arrives, the soldiers try to do the same procedure as with the tractor drivers. However, the man is worried and doesn't agree to leave his donkey without supervision. He tries to get closer to the soldiers at the computer …(it's forbidden, since it's "dangerous"), but in the end , when they agree on an acceptable distance, the man quickly says his ID number before the donkey has time to trot away with the wagon…The last in line is a truck which is checked strictly according to regulations, of course.
Annelien is adventurous. She decides to take a dirt road which we have never tried before. . It's a long and winding road passing through fields, orchards and greenhouses belonging to the farmers in Jayyus. At last we reach the village and from there we drive on to pay a short visit in Azzun. Along the way we enjoy the clusters of squills (look "Wildflower Garden" by Meir Shalev).