'Azzun 'Atma, Tue 26.5.09, Morning

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Rachel B., Dina A. (reporting)


Translator:  Charles K.

We arrived at the Azzun Atma checkpoint at 10:00, at the end of our shift.  The checkpoint is closed, soldiers next to the gate.  No one goes through.  Just before we left a group of children leaves the village and crosses to the other side of the dangerous road, apparently on their way home.

Next to the village, within the fence, cars are parked belonging to whoever already left for work this morning.  One of the villagers approaches the fence and says bitterly, “We’re in a ghetto, fenced in from all directions, nor can we leave at night if necessary even though the soldiers man the positions 24 hours a day.  Our fields are on the other side of the road, it’s impossible to live like this, the war began in Gaza and we were closed off.  We sued in the Supreme Court; we’ll see what happens.  What do you want from us?”

Two women stand next to the gate on the Israeli side, one with a blue ID card.  She’s from Azzun Atma, married to a man from Kafr Qassem.  For five months, since January, she’s not been allowed to enter Azzun Atma to visit her mother.  It sounds terrible, but it’s a fact.  We tried to help, but…

We spoke to the DCO.  The answer:  We don’t deal with Israeli Arabs.  I asked whom we should speak to.  The answer:  I don’t know.  I contacted the Civil Administration.  The spokesman replied: we don’t deal with that, and you’re bothering us.  I contacted the Humanitarian office.  The answer:  We really don’t know, but we’ll transfer you to the brigade headquarters.  The brigade didn’t have an answer.

Before we had finished all our calls the woman gave up, because it’s not the first time she’s tried, and rode back to Kafr Qassem.
 I understood, after additional inquiries, that there’s no way to help her.