The shift this morning perpetuates the whole gamut of our criticism of the evils of occupation: the suffering of the inhabitants, the damage inflicted by the agricultural gates, the insufferable bureaucracy and more that allthose the repeated failures in the conduct of the army.
06:40 We arrived at a shut gate and no soldier was to be seen around. Behind the Palestinian gate many people and means of transportation crowded together (from donkeys and horses hitched to carts, to bicycles and to motorized vehicles).
06:50 The soldiers arrived in a hummer and positioned themselves at the guard posts, near the Israeli side. When asked why they didn't open we succeeded, after some dispute, to get an explanation: somewhere at another gate (they didn't remember its name nor its number) there was a delay and they were asked to delay the opening here too (Later we found out that CP 109 was opened late this morning too).
At 07:00 the Hummer arrived on another round with the girl soldiers who manned the checking building. We demanded that things be sped up. We contacted the DCO for the first time.
The CP was opened at 07:05 instead of 06:45
Retroactively it transpired that since today there is a new unit posted here (armoured unit) but no overlapping unit, guide or DCO representative didn't accompany then. It was clear that they still don't understand their role and the meaning of the delay for the farmers and the other workers. Moreover, they don't understand the classification of the people passing (mostly Habla inhabitants who pass here every day, farmers, authorized workers) and especially they don't understand that working people, especially farmers, cannot begin their working day at 08:00 or 09:00, certainly not in summer. Most of the time they are standing in the middle between the gates and completely ignore those waiting at the Israeli gate.
07:25 People who had been waiting for a long time on both sides and were dried up from the sun, began being nervous and to quarrel. At the queue a big brouhaha began, despite the effort to settle it by distributing number. Out of fear that the brawl should turn into a major even, the soldiers closed for a few minutes the middle gate (the one in front of the path) and stopped allowing people to enter for checking. When the excitement subsided they reopened the gate. We again contacted the DCO and demanded that a representative be sent. We were told by R. that the details had been transmitted. As there was no improvement in the passage, and no authorized persons who were waiting at the Israeli side were allowed to enter, we contacted Wohl W (third connection) and asked him to come himself. He said the things were complicated this morning at the CP 109, but that he would try to come.
07:45 We passed the information on to Tami and asked her to contact whoever she thought should be contacted (fourth communication). It transpired that the information wasn't really passed on to the operations officer.
07:55 The people on the Israeli side (altogether 6) are still waiting, over half and hour. The soldiers don't even look at them, although there are intervals between one group and the other. When we asked why, the CP commander answered: "Let them come in half an hour"! (with spoilt milk? Equipment without which work is held up? Etc.) They are no doubt transparent. What makes them want to go to work and to return home? It is difficult to express in words the level of existential humiliation involved in this standing of workmen at the CP on their land. In expectation of the mercy of those responsible for the management of the CP (one doesn’t have to be rude. The mere inadequatebehaviour is enough).
08:15 Wohl arrives and tries to move and dissolve the congestion from both directions. The soldiers stick to the regulations of the operations room, and this doesn't exactly work. He also lets us understand that the is a manpower shortage. 4 of those waiting on the Israeli side finally pass, after 50 minutes the other two after one hour!!!
09:00 We leave not before Wohl promises that they won't shut the CP until everybody will have passed. In a later conversation he tells us that the CP remained open for another 20 minutes (approximately until 09:30) and that the management of the CP (especially after the closure of the gate at Ras Atiya) and the opening hours,and intensively discussed in the last days.
We are of the opinion that the inhabitants who are confined in the juncture area are intitled to a fair quality of life. This agricultural gate should be opened not later than 06:00, surely in summer, and should be kept open continually until the evening, and holders of authorization should not be forced to pass the via dolorosa again and again every day.Also, the mishap this morning is not the fault of the new soldiers but of those who positioned them on their first or second day without accompaniment and instruction.
09:30 Huwwara – the traffice flows from south to Nablus. At the opposite direction the checking is haphazard without special delays.
09:45 We made a detour through Awarta and Hudila. We saw many flags of the popular front for the liberation of Palestine, but there were not special events or obstructions.
Tapuah Junction – Zaatara – empty. The traffic flows.
Zeita Jam'in – is indeed open, and cars come out without any obstruction. We to opened our eyes wide and closed our shift with some consolation.