Eliyahu Crossing, Falamiya North Checkpoint (914)
We invited a guest from London to our checkpoints shift, to show him the lives of Palestinians on the West Bank.
11:45 the (former) Oranit checkpoint
The gate, intended to allow residents of ‘Azzun ‘Atma to reach their lands, is closed and locked, as in the past. There’s a gap between the fence and the gate, allowing farmers returning from their fields to cross on foot, then walk north a few kilometers to checkpoint X on the security road. And, in fact, two people arrived and came through the gap.
12:30 Eliyahu checkpoint
We stopped to show the upgraded landscaping at the checkpoint and the security company offices, and as usual, a security guard showed up to explain we’re not allowed to be here. We showed our guest the dog pen whose occupants sniff through cars of Israeli Arabs coming through to Israel. One pickup truck and four cars were being inspected.
13:00 Falamya north (914)
Nina and Herzlia were already there. The first tractor was just going through after the checkpoint opened (late, we were told). A few people crossed on foot, greeted us as usual, and got on the tractor and other vehicles on their way back to their villages. We left and instead of continuing to Falamya south, which will be visited by a different shift, we decided to go to Habla.
Getting on a tractor after going through checkpoint 914 on the way back to the village.
On the way, our guest tried to understand where the settlers live and what their relations are with the Palestinians and how come they’re not afraid to live among them since they’re not welcome. He had seen only Oranit, Elkana, and Etz Efrayim - settlements in enclaves west of the Fence. We changed the plan: we stopped at ‘Azzun for coffee and a light meal and continued east past the settlements along Highway 55, which is spreading south on ‘Azzun’s land: Ma’aleh Shomron, Karnei Shomron, and their satellites. We told him about Havvat Gil’ad, perched on a hilltop, like a fortress overlooking its surroundings in all directions. We reached Funduq, much of whose land has been classified as Area C. Landowners can’t obtain building permits from Israel and are forced to build without permits. Their buildings are served with demolition orders, and are sometimes demolished.
We returned via the Eliyahu checkpoint (two cars detained for inspection), drove through Alfei Menashe and then ‘Arab al-Ramadin, and explained the special circumstances of the village and its residents. We stopped at A.’s and heard that a new group of soldiers was manning the Habla checkpoint, and for the past two weeks “it’s been disorganized.” That morning the checkpoint opened 30 minutes late.