'Anabta, 'Azzun, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Ras 'Atiya, Te'enim Crossing, Mon 12.4.10, Morning

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Frances and Nur (reporting and photographing) Translator: Charles K.

06:30  Habla

Residents of Hod Hasharon or Kfar Saba who shop for plants at the nurseries don’t imagine that a few hundred meters away is hidden a terminal through which Palestinian laborers enter to work in Israel.

When we arrived the gate was closed.  A large group of laborers waits on the other side of the gate.  Most are male.  Only at 06:45 do Palestinians begin going through.  Only four people are allowed to wait in the space between the gate and the turnstile.  The soldiers don’t have to tell them what to do.  They know the rules very well.  Whenever the area next to the turnstile is empty, a group of four men approaches.  The rest remain standing at a distance.  After inspection the laborers hurry to work and don’t want us to delay them.  All we heard was “the female soldier inside is very strict; soon we’ll also have to take off our underwear,” and “it’s punishment for living.”  We estimate that about 35 people went through this morning.  We left at 07:20; the gate is open until 8:15. 

07:25  We turned left road to Alfei Menashe and turned off to Ras a-Tiya.  The bus with children on the way to school was in front of us.  We follow it, alongside the wall and barbed wire fences surrounding Alfei Menashe (Frances asked me: What do the children think about all that?  Are they used to it?) 

07:30  Ras a-Tiya checkpoint

One bus is already waiting.  The one we followed stops behind it.  Two soldiers (a soldier and a female MP) get on the bus, inspect each seat, they’re visible through the windows, the children peek out the windows, ten more minutes will go by before the bus is allowed to continue.  Female teachers cross the checkpoint on foot.  They’re not inspected. 

It’s surprising how banal this place is – a father drops off his son near us, the son walks across, through the fences we see a briefcase swinging, the father’s eyes follow, makes a u-turn and drives away.  Soon another father arrives, two siblings get out of the car.  The older takes her younger brother by the hand, takes a deep breath, concentrates, and together they go through the checkpoint.  Photos attached.  Soon we heard voices from the schoolyard.  Classes had begun. 

08:00  Eliyahu

Three men in the pedestrian lane.  Most of the laborers have already crossed earlier. 

08:05  A side road going up to Azzun (just before the main road to the village); two army jeeps. 

08:25  Deir Sharaf

An army jeep, three soldiers standing alongside, next to the concrete cubes blocking the road up to Shavei Shomron.  Vehicles go through without inspection.  At 09:15, when we went past again, the junction was empty. 

08:30  Shavei Shomron

The road is still closed.  Reservists on site.  The owner of the grocery from Deir Sharaf told us that he heard that the road will open in a month and a half. 

09:20  Anabta

Unmanned (we assume that there’s someone in the lookout tower). 

09:35  Te’anim crossing

We wanted to enter Jubara.  Nir, the checkpoint commander, said he wasn’t authorized to open the gatesinfo-icon.  We told him he wasn’t authorized to prevent us from entering the village.