'Anabta, 'Azzun, Deir Sharaf, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Jit, Shave Shomron, Mon 5.7.10, Morning
06:45 Habla agricultural gate.
The gates are open, the MP’s are there and the Palestinians are waiting…
06:55 The first group is still waiting next to the revolving gate to enter for inspection.
06:59 The first people enter. Those waiting are very angry. As we saw last week, more people are crossing because they’re accompanied by children wanting to go through the checkpoint with their fathers to help in the fields; some are allowed through and others aren’t, and we weren’t clear what the criteria were.
After talking to Capt. T, from the DCO, we learned:
1) Children under 12 can cross with their parents because they’re listed in the parents’ ID card, but they should also bring their “kushan” (birth certificate).
2) Children aged 12-16 can cross with a photocopy of their kushan and a photocopy of their parent’s ID card and a photocopy of one of the parent’s agricultural permit or permanent resident document showing they live in the seam zone.
People with employment permits are not allowed to bring children older than 12.T. says that the rationale for these differences is that children of the landowners can help their parents. When I tried to suggest that other people might also have to earn extra money – I didn’t convince him.One of the Palestinians tries to talk to a female soldier and explain to her why it’s important to allow his son to go through and help him, and she’s getting annoyed and saying, “What does he think I am, the social services office…”An owner of one of plant nurseries arrives and says that on Sunday there was a ruckus among the laborers, the soldiers closed the gates and as punishment didn’t permit the other workers to cross. He complained about the difficulties and again asked that the gate be kept open all day. 08:30 No more Palestinians waiting at Eliyahu gate.We continue to Deir Sharaf, taking a look at the new fence in the Alfei Menasheh salient.A Hummer lies in wait alongside the road opposite the entrance to ‘Azzun. We continue; don’t see the Hummer that’s usually at Jit junction and go on to Beit Iba.We get on Route 60 that, according to an attractive new sign, should lead to Jenin. The road is paved but there’s still a roadblock opposite Shavei Shomron and the turn to the village of Sebastya is still blocked.We go back down to Deir Sharaf and drive to Beit Iba. Rina hasn’t been in the area for a number of months and is amazed at the changes. Much new construction, new shops and even two plant nurseries are along the road to Beit Iba. We met a Palestinian who worked as a porter when the checkpoint was operating; he was glad to see us. New roads are also being paved (for example, the road from Beit Iba to the village of Kochin).We saw no military presence this trip. We didn’t hang around very long because we had two “errands”After a short stop at our shopkeeper friend in Deir Sharaf we drove on toward the deserted ‘Anabta checkpoint, where we gave a Palestinian resident of Tulkarm a large quantity of clothing to distribute with the help of an association that provides assistance which he established in Tulkarm and …we bought figs!We passed the Jubara crossing but didn’t try to enter the village because we were hurrying to Irtach to pick up a Palestinian visiting his hospitalized son, unconscious in a nursing home.I want to note that everywhere we stopped, Palestinians told us about problems and consulted with us. We gave some of them telephone numbers or promised to look into things.