'Azzun 'Atma, Sat 7.6.08, Afternoon

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Ronnie H., Ayah K., Tamar G., Vivi Z. Natanya translating.
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

Azun Etma, 7.6.2008, Shabbat,

A previous report explains the position of this village which is
enclosed in the separation fence between the settlements of Oranit,
Elkana and Shaarei Tikvah . These are the settlements which are
attempting to stay in the area of Israel and the village is fenced in
from all sides. A prison in a prison is what it is and not an enclave
in the envelope zone. At the north side of the checking is the army and
a very difficult checkpoint it is. Many soldiers, x-ray devices, sentry
towers, booths, turnstiles. Everyone who passes by, pregnant women and
children included have to pass on the southern side of this blocked in
village. Through the x-ray room parallel to the fence which closes in
the village is a road for the entire length and we can see rokcs close
to road 5 which is forbidden to the Palestinians. Outside the village
on road 5 is a solitary house which is on the Israeli side because of
the way the road has gone but the residents have green IDs. At the
village close to the blockage taxi drivers wait hoping to make some
sort of living in the village or at the exit in the direction of
Israel but few dare to do so because of the army patrols which wait to
catch them. The way which is supposed to be open on foot without a
permit to enter Israel. The northern checkpoint is in the separation
fence and separates the village from the other villages of Beit Amin
and Seniria which before were connected both from the family and work
point of view. Only residents of the village can enter or those who
have special permits and many times only succeed in doing so after
having been harassed and detained for many hours. Those caught are also
brought here to be detained. The checkpoint is opened at night only for
medical emergency cases and even then at the whim of the soldiers who
sit in the sentry tower.

got to the northern side from Hawarra though the roads of the West
Bank, some of which were made for the settlers by Israel and some bad
roads through the villages with no signs giving the names of the
villages and with few roads.

stood outside the northern checkpoint which was manned and soon a
dialogue began between the villagers and people who came from other
villages. This is a good way to have conversations with the local
people who very much want to tell their stories and there are not many
Israelis or other visitors who come there or who come to see and
document what is happening

People were waiting for guests who were coming to a wedding in the
village that evening. They are sure that residents of Azun Etma are
standing on the northern side of the checkpoint and they are worried
that some of the villagers who do have Azun Etma as place of residence
in their IDs are being prevented from coming though but they are still
hoping. Soldiers from the checkpoint which was not allowing entry come
out and ask us not to photograph because that is forbidden and when we
refused, they tried to find out on the phone and found that we were allowed
to do so. As a result they fell upon the young men who were speaking to
us and also on the driver of the taxi who was from East Jerusalem.
Again and again they asked for documents and did not find anything. The
young men said that the soldiers at the checkpoint are very rough with
the IDs and that because these are so much used they become disfigured
and torn and the Palestinian Authority is closed. Some of the young men
are caught working in Israel and they are fined and given a delayed
imprisonment and each one in his own way tries to get through or to see
in the village without work but scared to try even though for the
people of the village it is relatively easy to get into Israel. They
say that at night the checkpoint is closed and there is always the
fear that someone may need emergency medical treatment. They told of
someone who had been wounded in an accident and had waited at 10 at
night for two hours at the checkpoint until it was open and had then
died in the hospital They also told the story of a young couple who did
not even try their luck at the checkpoint but physically brought the
pregnant woman who had labor pains to road 5 and brought her over the
mounds of stones to road 5. Before the checkpoint was built they had
taken women over the fence by a forklift.

We drove into the village with three people who also told the stories
of this village which is slowly dying. They do not complain. They do
not complain about the life they had previously and say that it is not
the nearby settlers by the army and the checkpoint and the many patrols
which catch those trying to slip through to work. They speak of the
good days when they could work in Israel and make a living, enjoy
themselves, about having a magnetic card and their strong desire to
flee from this life. They told of a young man, father of six who is
very ill and met two women who told him to send fax to Jerusalem to get
the refusal removed but this had not worked out.

There are wells in
the village and water is not stolen but they say that some of
the pastures are not worked because of lack of hands, and that it is hard
to take the olives to be pressed. The lands of Beit Amin can only be
entered with permits and through the checkpoint. Fuel is brought into
the village and this is a long and expensive project.

elderly women came hoping to get through to work in Israel. They have
no option as they are the breadwinners of large families. They say that
sometime a high official allows them to go to the village and from
there to Kfar Kassem and we rejoiced with them when they managed to get

The sewage is dry owing to the summer.

went for a short time. Few people and the students are on holiday. The
offices in Nablus are closed as a result of the Israeli Sabbath. At
Hawarra the carpark is full but there is no work. There are vendors who
are not harassed but are always nervous of this. They can only work in
the narrow area the army allows them.