'Azzun is crowded with people and cars
On Highway 55, just past the bridge, work is being completed on a small new plaza.
12:40 ‘Azzun. It’s been a long time if ever, I’ve seen ‘Azzun so busy. Vehicles of every color and size make their way to the city. The gates, repainted yellow and orange, are wide open, and it’s obvious that the area has been cleaned up recently. The main street is also crowded, separate groups of boys and girls in school uniforms fill the streets, and younger children the shops to buy sweets after school lets out. Double-parked cars interfere with traffic and dozens of people without masks stand in small clusters. H., our friend, the director of the municipality, took early retirement; his wife fell ill with the coronavirus and was even hospitalized for a few days. He’s involved in some kind of humanitarian endeavor, on a voluntary basis. We stopped briefly at Z’s, to buy oil.
13:50 Habla checkpoint. It’s open between 13:40-14:05. The gate is open wide. Along the road from Highway 55 a few cars and trucks pass us. The area empties quickly. Finally, a man comes from Habla, and a woman carrying a large bundle filled with empty plastic containers on her head. They meet at the soldiers’ inspection point and both continue toward the plant nurseries. The soldiers close the gate. They get into their vehicle to proceed to the next checkpoint. We return for a brief visit to A. On the way, we discover the woman wanted to reach Habla but she wasn’t allowed to cross. Her permit was valid only for the Eliyahu checkpoint, she said, without anger. It was too late to ask the soldiers why they didn’t allow her through to Habla, rather than sending her on a long detour. A. said everything in the area had changed. He no longer crosses at Habla; a new gate has been opened south of Qalqilya.