1474 Oranit, Habla
We went to the Oranit checkpoint after being told at the greenhouses three weeks ago that it opens at 12:50, to meet those crossing and find out what hours it’s open. It turns out it’s no longer open…
12:30 We saw no one waiting at Oranit checkpoint 1474 and continued to the greenhouses on the way to Kafr Qassem. A lad who came toward us said Oranit checkpoint is no longer open. Residents of ‘Azzun ‘Atma must cross via the Beit Amin (Abu Salman) 1447 checkpoint, which opens only twice a day, at about 08:00 and 15:30.
At the junction we stopped next to the sign hailing the upgrading of Highway 505, to understand the work of widening the road we’d witnessed in recent months. We also found a sign expressing the opposition of Oranit’s residents to the unification. We asked the guard at the gate what the unification referred to. He announced he opposes any unification – it involves Sha’arei Tikva. We asked about the endless stream of cars entering the locality; a proud local patriot, he said it’s the largest locality in the West Bank, other than Ariel “because of the university.”
13:13 The gate of the Habla checkpoint was already open on our side as we approached and some of the staff, primarily female soldiers, worked to open the other side and prepared to inspect documents and permits of those entering. Three others took positions in the location beside the gate but it took them 15 minutes to get the computer working. An elderly man and a man with a bicycle waited patiently to enter. The soldiers allowed them to enter but immediately told them to come back and leave their documents. Exterminators came to spray the structure against rodents, asked what we were doing there and why the Palestinians aren’t going through.
When the computer problems were solved the crossing began operating normally, pretty slowly, but not many people were waiting. We spoke to a young woman from ‘Arab a-Ramadin whom we’d met before. She’s an aide in the Nabi Ilyas school, which has more than 300 pupils, assisting pupils who need help. To return home after work she travels from Nabi Ilyas to Qalqilya, from there in a jitney (only 3 shekels) to the Habla checkpoint, and here she waits for the school bus or tries to get a ride. A long journey, because the fence separates two villages that are only ten minutes apart.
I kept trying to find out from the DCL the hours that the Oranit and Beit Amin checkpoints are open. I was asked five times by the soldier to call back in half an hour.
This morning I received an answer. Oranit 1474 isn’t open. Beit Amin (Abu Salman) checkpoint is open from 07:55-08:05 in the morning and 15:25-15:40 in the afternoon. More limitations. How will they manage to continue farming?