Agricultural Gate 839 - we waited for a long time and nobody came

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Karin L,  Shoshi A. (report and photos); Translator: Judith Green
משאית עוברת במחסום חבלה
מחסום חבלה - ערמות של שקי זבל בקונטיינר

Azzun - First stop in Azzun, at home of Z.  in order to deliver packages for the second-hand store which is managed by his wife

We were supposed to visit them on Thursday, but they asked for us not to come because they had a doctor's appointment.  We only understood that it was for their son when we arrived;  he suffers from pains in his loins.  His parents are worried that he might need an operation and if that will influence his future.  The young man works for his uncle in moving rocks and earns 50 NIS/day.  Fifty shekels for a day of intense physical labor under the burning sun.

Sal'it is a secular workers' moshav on the western border of Samaria, about 5 k. east of the Green Line, 2 k. southeast of Taybeh.  Sal'it was established as a Nahal settlement in 1977 and, 2 years later, became a civilian settlement with members from the Betar Herut Movement.

Kfar Sur - a small village lying east of Sal'it .  The geographic distance between the 2 settlements is small but, from every other point of view, the difference is huge.

On my last visit to Kfar Sur, 1.2.21, I reported:  At first there were reasonably good relations between the residents of the village and those of Sla'it but, in 2003, at the time of the raising of the Wall between the 2 settlements, the troubles began.  The fence was built in order to cut through A-Ras and Kfar Sur which is on its East, and Kfar Jamal and Falamiya which are on the south.  There is a checkpoint in the fence, the Agricultural Checkpoint #839.  From the end of the path of Kfar Sur, one sees the rooftops of Sal'it, a handbreadth away.

In the past, there was a gate in the fence which was opened as needed by the people of Kfar Sur who worked in Sal'it in industry and horticulture.  Recently, the army decided not to open the gate and all the people from Kfar Sur are forced to go to Checkpoint #839, which is a considerable distance by car.

Our friend, G., owns land over the Wall and told us that the checkpoint opens in the afternoon at 13:00 and in the evening at 16:00.  We went to the checkpoint and waited a long time;  no one came, from either side of the checkpoint.

We continued to Habla, where we arrived at 13:45.  Most of the Palestinians had already gone through the checkpoint.  A few more trucks and vans belonging to the nursery went through.  The soldiers were quite bored and didn't even bother us when they saw we were photographing.  If it is allowed to make a positive remark:  for a few months now the soldiers at the checkpoints have been much more humane in their relating to the Palestinians.  We recall some of the rude expressions which were "barked" at the Palestinians.  We also heard from the Palestinians themselves that there has been a change for the better in their treatment of them.  

The stench in the Container is unbearable.  Who is responsible for hygiene in this place?  Whose garbage is this piled up here?

Last stop is the nursery.  Z. told us that last week hundreds of Palestinians arrived at highway #55 for transportation to the sea.  One must assume that they got a permit (but it isn't clear)..

A heroic soldier with exaggerated motivation, as well as apparent brain-washing, threw a shock grenade over the crowd and the crowd quickly dispersed and moved back.  That was the end of the dream of going to the sea.  This really boiled the blood of Z. who was a witness to the act and he shared his opinion with the commanding officer there.  If only someone would listen to this wise man who believes in co-existence.