'Azzun 'Atma, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Mon 26.8.13, Morning

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Nora Rash, Chana Aviram Translator: Charles K.

When we left at dawn for our shift we hadn’t yet heard about the incursion of security forces into the Qalandiya refugee camp and the killing of three of its Palestinian residents.[1]

Nor, apparently, had the Palestinian workers we met at the checkpoints heard the news, so the semblance of what’s known as “the occupation routine” continued during these hours.  What’s the “occupation routine”?  Signs erected on hills or knolls along both sides of Highway 5 near the turn to Elkana/Etz Efrayim, Sha’arey Tiqwa and the Azzun Atma checkpoint announce the establishment of the “Nahal Kana” industrial zone.  Which only goes to show that discussions and negotiations with the Palestinian Authority over a political arrangement won’t stop Israeli expansion and settlement in the territories and the use Palestinian labor to strengthen its economic dominance.[2]

Azzun Atma is one of the checkpoints that well exemplify “the occupation routine,” the division into masters and the conquered and the occupier’s use of his power to create a class structure also among those subject to his favors.

06:00  Groups of Palestinians waiting for rides already gather opposite the checkpoint on the other side of the road.  Young children carry pots of coffee for sale.  At least 20 people are on line in the village to enter Israel to work.  It takes up to ten minutes to go through from the moment they get on line.  The employees from the Hanson factory aren’t inspected when they return from their night shift.

06:45  We left following a short conversation with two young men employed in renovations in the area of Tel Aviv and its surroundings.

Habla  An additional checkpoint in the separation fence preventing residents of Habla direct access to their lands near Highway 55.

07:00  A few dozen men seated at the junction of Highway 55 and the access road to the checkpoint.  The procedure according to which five people are inspected at a time is still in place at the checkpoint.  When six people came forward the soldier in position hurried to restore “order.”

07:32  The children’s buses arrived.  The drivers get out and show the soldiers their IDs.  We heard an MP tell one of the drivers he should have gone through “109.”  The driver said he’s been crossing here for years.  Because of the arbitrary manner in which the occupation is conducted, he could have crossed here for 3 or 4 years, but no longer.  “You can come in here but you have to leave through 109,” says the MP.

07:40  The MP and a soldier providing security enter to inspect one of the buses.  They continue to Habla.

07:50  We leave.

08:00  Eliyahu crossing checkpoint.  There are still some people in the lane to enter Israel.

[2] Even if Israeli employers shed crocodile tears over possible damage to Palestinian workers.