Deir Sharaf, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Wed 18.5.11, Morning
07:15 AM: Habla Agricultural Gate
Gate now opens at 7 AM. This is a problem for the workers who need to get through earlier and ask that the opening time be restored to 6:30 AM. Steady stream of people on foot, car, van , tractor, donkey and cart and bicycles. The checkpoint appears to be working efficiently with 2-3 minutes between each group of five people. The soldiers manning the gate are polite towards the Palestinians. No issues encountered.
07:50 AM: Eliyahu Crossing
We are stopped at the crossing and asked to pull aside. (Please note that the MachsomWatch flag is blowing from our car window). We are subjected to a through check. Our documents are taken (ID papers, car ID, car insurance etc). We are asked to come out of the car while the trunk is checked. The back of the car is checked as well and we are told that if we are in a possession of any knife we would not be allowed to cross.
A scene that even Kafka would have enjoyed:
- The young border policeman claims that he doesn’t know anything about MacshomWatch and asks if we go to the checkpoint to make sure that the soldiers get their meals on time!
- In the trunk of our car we have a pair of walking sticks. The police officer asks us: “Are you going fishing?”
I kid you not!
After 10 minutes of this we are allowed to continue on our journey.
08:15 AM: Jayyus– we drive through on our way to Falamya. Nothing unusual to observe in this sleepy village.
08:25 AM: Falamya Agricultural Gate
The gate is open, we observe a group of people working the fields on the other side of the gate. There is moderate traffic on the road to Tulkarm. Very quiet activity at the gate.
In Falamya village we are stopped by one of the residents who pulls out a MachsomWatch card and asks about his friend Yael. We accept his regards.
08:30 – 09:30 AM: Kafr Jammal, Kafr Tsur, Al Funduq
We drive through these quiet villages. There are no surprise checkpoints or army vehicles to be seen.
We continue on Route 55 and find a hummer vehicle at the junction near Jit where Route 55 intersects with Route 60.
09:35 AM: Deir Sharaf
We drive along the wall surrounding Shavei Shomron. The road is open, the checkpoint is open and unmanned. We head back to Eliyahu Crossing where we are allowed to go back without incident but across on the other side we notice that another car with Israeli license plates has been stopped and is being questioned.