Habla - The soldiers at the checkpoint wait for the uncles of a young Israeli. They are late to attend his mother's funeral.
Checkpoint hours: 13:15-14:15
The occupation routine – everything, or almost everything, proceeds as expected.
We arrived at 13:20; the soldiers were already there and are opening the gates. Crossing goes fairly quickly, but inspections are careful and rigorous.
A mother holding a baby accompanied by two daughters, from ‘Arab Ramadin, is carefully checked, the baby as well. A soldier comes from the inspection building holding their documents and their crossing is delayed. After a long discussion, the younger girl is allowed to cross, considered to be 13 years old. She explained when she passed us that the birth certificate for the other girl was lacking so only she, who had a birth certificate, could cross. A car came to meet her.
Meanwhile, trucks go through one after the other, with seedings for the plant nurseries, after careful inspection, as well as other cars. A pickup truck is sent to wait by the side while permits are checked. Then a car is pulled aside. After they spend some time arguing, and some phone calls, they’re both allowed to cross.
An Israeli from Jaljulya waits for relatives coming to his mother’s funeral. Some youths crossed from Habla after a discussion with the soldiers and some phone calls. They’re his cousins, dignitaries, who work in Qalqilya. One is a physician, the other a department head in the municipality. They have a crossing permit for Eyal, which is currently closed except for people crossing for work and remaining in Israel for three weeks, because of COVID-19. Additional cousins of his father are expected, but the Israeli has been waiting a long time and he worried and tense. They’re on their way, but the closing time of 14:15 is approaching.
Meanwhile, a truck is sent back to Habla. A taxi crosses, which is unusual. The truck driver pleads with the checkpoint manager who tells him to call the DCL. “No one answers,” he tells her despairingly.
A soldier tells the youth from Jaljulya who’s waiting for his uncles that they’ll have to close the gate in ten minutes. He’s very stressed, it’s very important to him that his uncles come and it’s not clear why they’re so late.
At 14:20 the gate still hasn’t closed; the manager waits for the uncles who for some reason don’t arrive. Many phone calls; it turns out they came to the wrong checkpoint, near Oranit, which is closed, of course. They decide to wait longer. The mourning youth waiting for his uncles says “Israel is a democracy, which I’m proud of, unlike the Palestinian Authority. Even though there’s a bit of discrimination.” The uncles finally arrive (14:25), each with two wives, and all cross on foot. The tension eases, the soldiers close the gate. “Good for you,” we said to them, for waiting, and the checkpoint manager said, with satisfaction, “We do the right thing,” but she doesn’t understand that the checkpoint shouldn’t even exist.