Habla - the checkpoint opened late - "it's like this every day"

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Nina S., Hana A., translation: Danah E.

- First, they create a problem (delay in opening the checkpoint), and then they blame (and punish) the occupied.

- The absurdity of the planning: when coming from the Eliyahu checkpoint it is impossible to turn left to the nurseries.

6:48 - we arrived before the checkpoint’s opening time  (7:15) for those crossing it on foot and/or in vehicles.

The checkpoint is closed, but there are soldiers who keep watching the area at all times due to breaches in the fences. Another guardpost was set up to the left of the inspection post on the road.

At this time people are already waiting from the direction of Habla.

On the narrow gate through which the pedestrians are supposed to pass, a 'chain' of empty drink cans was hung. The explanation we received: when someone tries to pass at night, the cans clink and the noise draws the attention of the guards.

7:30 - The checkpoint hasn't opened yet. Nina called the DCO. 'They will check'. The checkpoint is still not open.  Ab. says it's like this every day. People crowd at an unopened gate.

7:44 - the military police vehicle arrived. One of the security soldiers instructs those waiting: "Now, everyone back, up to the line of...friends (that's how he addresses them), it's a waste of time...". Ab. Shouting at those waiting to line up.

Finally the soldiers of the military police approach to open the gate. Their female officer explains the reason for the delay to one of the security soldiers: "But, what to do. You have 10 minutes to open a gate and we have 100 people coming... (at another gate)".

Soldiers in the military police also join the waiting public in the sound of "off!! back off!" etc. Ab. also joins in and really shouts at them.

One of the soldiers tells us: "In the end, the ordinary people want to live in peace. The problem is the extremists on both sides...but, we can't have them on the gate...".

8:00 - The first woman comes out. The people pass one by one. After a few minutes, the soldier shouts to Ab.: "Abed, by three, by three".

The guard in the fields suggests that they also check the second checkpoint, the one that was placed relatively recently. From what he said can be understood that during the harvest season and due to the change to the winter clock there is no coordination between the opening hours of the two checkpoints.

8:15 - Father and son try to go out together, but the son is not allowed. Not sure we fully understood what the problem was. It seems to be related to the difference between the authorization to pass through the Habla checkpoint and the authorization for the harvest season and he can only reach the Olive grove from another checkpoint.

We continue to go out on foot and then "Go back! Ab.! Five meters! Until you go back, no one passes!"

The pedestrian queue has ended and the teachers’ car leaves first after them. It's 8:23! An hour late!

One of the passengers is in charge of submitting the certificates and approvals. A soldier receives them and stands next to the driver, inspecting them one by one. The teacher's car continues on its way at 8:28.

8:48 - the checkpoint is closed.

In a conversation with O., he describes to us a serious problem that rose due to the changes in the road: they canceled the left turn for those coming to the nurseries from the Eliyahu checkpoint and also canceled the roundabout that was at the entrance to the Qalqiliya South checkpoint further down the road and there is no possibility of a U-turn at the traffic light at the entrance to the area west of the green line on the aligned Highway 444.

The only option left for the owners of the nurseries and their employees is to drive to the new traffic lights that were erected at the point where road 444 is straightened, then to the gas station in Israel and there to make a U-turn. In such a situation, the Palestinians become illegal sojourners...