'Azzun, 'Azzun 'Atma, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla
There is a new checkpoint, manned, between Shufa and Isbat Shufa. Details to follow.
06:00 ‘Azzun ‘Atma
A lot of people have already passed through and are waiting for transport outside. However, the line is still long (about 70 waiting); very different from last week's situation. There are only 2 inspection booths, which does not help. While we were at the checkpoint, we received a number of requests for help from those on the GSS blacklist which we referred to S., that she should check whether there was anything to do about it. The people from the Hansen company return from their night shift (?) 3 coffee kids run around as usual, energetic and active. We timed the crossing: although there were only 2 booths, it wasn't especially slow and it took about 20-25 minutes to cross. By 07:00 the line was shorter.
A military vehicle was standing at the entrance to the nurseries on the main road.
No line at all, everyone who arrived went straight through: people, carts, donkeys. A family arrived from the Israeli side, children and adults in a taxi. People from Arav Ramdin, Bedouin who live in the seam area, but whose lives are naturally centered on the West Bank, enter Habla. Still no line and everyone goes through in a few minutes. Another family arrives of women from Ramdin, dressed up as though for an evening party. A flock of sheep arrives and goes through. At about 08:00 the line lengthens, the passage is quick. 08:00 - the gates close.
Conversation with Abed, from the Peace Nursery:
One of Abed's workers got a restriction order from the GSS a month ago; he doesn't know why. Since then, his case has been reviewed at the DCO and every day he is delayed at the checkpoint and he has to call the DCO. Today they took his permit away entirely. After Abed spoke with the DCO, he was told that he had to go to the DCO office and get a new permit on which would be written "Permit in spite of restriction". What else can the IDF invent?? Further conversation revealed that the permit of A., our friend from one of the other nurseries, was also in this strange category.
Entrance to Kedum: there are 2 soldiers with weapons at the bus stop; perhaps to guard the settlers waiting for rides. For this they were conscripted!
J'it junction- open.
Shufa and Izbat Shufa
The checkpoint at the entrance to Izbat Shufa from Shufa has been manned again for 10 days. We met with A. from Shufa, who asked us to come there. At the checkpoint, they were only allowing Palestinians through whose address on their IDs was in Shufa. All the others had to travel round about, adding about 30 kilometers to their journey. He said that this checkpoint was poisoning the lives of people coming from Shufa because of the unnecessary lengthening of their trip: e.g., teachers from the Tulkarm area coming to teach in Shufa, extended family from the area coming to visit.
All of this was despite the High Court decision there was not to be any checkpoint between the 2 areas, a checkpoint which had existed for 10 years. In A.'s opinion, the purpose of the checkpoint was to expel Palestinians form the area around the settlers living in Avnnei Hefetz. One should mention that those traveling from Shufa to Tulkarm by detour do not use the road to Avnei Hefetz and in this way they are reducing the use of this road by Palestinians to a minimum. A man from Izbat Shufa wanting to get to Shufa now has to travel to Nablus in order to make the whole detour by way of ‘Anabta to Shufa. Is this a clever way around the High Court decision which had instructed that the road not be closed to the residents of Shufa? We will try to clear this up.
While we were in the area, we saw a lot of cars and trucks arriving at the checkpoint from both directions, but were not allowed to go through and thus forced to return on their tracks. They are still "uninformed".
While we were standing on the side of the road, 3 adult men, 2 women and another man were talking with us - it seems that this situation was leading to serious anxiety among the soldiers about our safety, so they came over twice to ask if we were okay and tried to convince us to leave; also a settler passing by on the road suggested we leave the place, naturally because he was worried about us...so much compassion and care!
09:40 Teenim checkpoint
At the side of the checkpoint there is a gate through which only Israeli Arabs are allowed to pass from the direction of Tulkarm into Israel. The gate is open from 11:00 to 20:00.