We arrived at 06:30. People already outside told us the checkpoint had just opened. We approached the gate on which an improvised sign provided the opening hours: 6:15-7:45; 13:15-14:15; 16:45-17:30.
Exit from the checkpoint continues to be in groups of five people, who must come to the turnstiles near the inspection room, present their documents to the soldier standing there, and enter the inspection room after the previous five have emerged.
Captain Na’if, the officer in charge, arrives after 07:00 on the security road in a military vehicle. He speaks with a man who’s come from the direction of Habla. When the conversation (which we can’t hear) is over, the man returns the way he came. “Blacklisted by the Shabak,” we’re told.
07:30 A school bus arrives from the direction of the entry road to the plant nurseries. After a short time it continues to Habla.
07:40 The officer leaves.
07:50 The last car goes through.
Before we leave the checkpoint, A., one of the owners of the plant nurseries, asks to speak to us when we’re finished; he has an urgent matter.
He describes the planned changes in the road: Following a meeting of the nursery owners with the DCL and the National Roads Authority, the nurseries will be moved away from the road so that access to and exit from them can be improved by a roundabout. Farther along the road, on the right, between the gas station at the turn to Alfei Menashe and the Eliyahu crossing, is Abu-Farda – a clump of shelters for flocks and their owners. They’re terribly poor. Access to and exits from this locality, which is close to Israel but light-years away in every other sense, lacking even minimal infrastructure, will be blocked in the next few days by a guard rail, and then the residents will be forced to go to the plaza near the Eliyahu checkpoint and from there make their way down a long, winding, rutted road. We drove with A. to see the location and along the way he told us that three months ago a seven-year-old boy fell down some stairs, and died before the ambulance arrived. If the road is difficult to traverse in dry weather, it’s not hard to imagine what happens when there’s rain and mud…
We were asked by A. to help prevent the current entrances to the locality from being blocked. We contacted Yudit, from Yesh Din, who said they’d look into it.
We were also asked by A. to document the location on video. Ruti will talk to an acquaintance of hers.
Update: On Saturday, 19.11.16, I spoke with A. He told me that Thursday, 17.11.16, one entry/exit was closed and the other, 200 meters away (the one nearer the Eliyahu crossing) remained open.