'Azzun 'Atma, Habla

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Rachel A., Dafna A. (reporting) Translator: Charles K.

Azzun Atma, Habla, Tuesday, 19.11.13, morning

Many people waiting at both checkpoints; arguments and fights broke out at both among those

waiting on line. Soldiers at the Azzun Atma checkpoint threw a smoke grenade to deter people.

It’s definitely unusual to encounter two such incidents in the course of a single shift. How

much anger builds up in people who must wait on line like this every day and be inspected by

soldiers? We have no answer. We returned home with heavy hearts – what does this tense

atmosphere portend?

06:05 Azzun Atma checkpoint

The line is moderately long, congested, about 50 people waiting to leave for work. Soldiers

say good morning to us, ask us to bring them goodies – that’s what the settlers do, they tell

us. They ask what we want; we tell them we want peace. The line moves reasonably quickly;

there’s no crowding at the revolving gate.

The children from the village who sell coffee want to leave through the gate to sell coffee for

a shekel to people waiting outside, but aren’t permitted to do so. We asked the soldiers why

they don’t let them; they say it’s forbidden, that all the other times the children went through

holes in the fence. Strange – we usually bought coffee from the children whenever we came to

the checkpoint.

06:35 People in the crowded line began to yell, and then fights broke out. The soldiers threw

a smoke grenade (which made a lot of noise) and shut the entrance to the revolving gate. One

soldier called to us, “That’s the peace you want?” As if there aren’t Israelis who lose their

temper and fight.

06:40 The gate reopens.

It took about half an hour for a person to get through the checkpoint, after taking into account

the time it was closed. On our way back we saw many holes in the fence.

07:00 Habla checkpoint.

The gate is open; it opened at 06:30 and many people have already gone through. Many

are still waiting on line. This line isn’t calm either; people began shouting and fighting. A

Palestinian who exited said it’s congested because the soldiers aren’t working quickly.

07:05 The bus transporting girls to school in Habla arrived; the driver entered to arrange


The soldiers closed the crossing, apparently because of the shouting and confusion on line.

07:09 The crossing reopened.

07:15 The school bus began moving, a Palestinian opened the vehicle gate and closing it

afterwards, then complained: We have to do that too? The soldiers are busy with inspections.

A jeep exited the gate and again a Palestinian opened and closed it.

A truck and a pickup exited, a horse cart loaded with vegetables, another pickup.

07:40 The line is still relatively long.