'Izbat Salman North checkpoint 1419, Beit Amin Checkpoint south(1447), Habla Checkpoint (1393)

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Nina S., Herzlia A. (reporting); Translator:  Charles K.

The occupation routine.

Checkpoint 1419 (‘Izbet Jalud)

We arrived early, and after waiting in the car we checked with the DCL and discovered that the gate opens at 16:35.  We see no one at all waiting for it to open.

16:35  The soldiers arrive.  Will they open the gate?  The soldiers get out in preparation for opening it and show us two Palestinian shepherds waiting with their fairly large flock of sheep (about 300 head) behind us, on the other side of the fence of the security road, the Israeli side.  The gate opens and after a friendly conversation between the soldiers and the shepherds they go through with their flock.

16:50  No one is here and we drive to the next checkpoint to await the soldiers who are closing this one.

Checkpoint 1474 (‘Azzun ‘Atma)

17:00  Eight to ten Palestinians are waiting for the soldiers.  They’re all from ‘Azzun ‘Atma.  One complains they’ve all been blacklisted by the Shabak and don’t know why, because they all have families and they want only to earn a living for them and want to work in Israel.  He’s in touch with Sylvia and is supposed to call her Thursday.  An olive grove nearby was burned a while ago, we aren’t able to determine when.  Meanwhile a tractor with five riders arrives, as well as other people.

Those waiting say the soldiers go first to Gate 1447, ‘Izbet Salman (where no one waited when we passed), even though the soldiers told us they don’t open it (that’s what the DCL also said).  In fact, it took some time for the soldiers to arrive.  We weren’t able to ask them later why it took them so long.

The sun is beating down, it’s hot, and the workers are tired after a day of work, and wait for the soldiers.  The also complain that the gate opens in the morning only after 08:00, and they must work in the greenhouses in terrible heat.  They want to cross earlier, at 06:00, for example.  Meanwhile the tractor driver asks whether we can help his son, who’s blacklisted by the police, and he’s worried about him.  We gave him Sylvia’s phone number.

One of those waiting says that permits are again being granted, and many who haven’t worked in recent months can return to work, even though there are still people waiting for work and crossing permits.

17:15 The soldiers arrive and get organized.  Everyone crosses, including two carts and the tractor.

17:25  We left when the soldiers had almost finished inspecting everyone, so we could reach Habla on time.

Checkpoint 1393 (Habla)

17:40  We arrived simultaneously with the soldiers.  About twenty Palestinians already waited.

17:45  Those coming from Habla move toward the inspection booth.  A., our acquaintance, is here and organizes everyone into an orderly line.  Nina talks to him and he updates her that about 500 people received work and crossing permits in the past two weeks, and that some 700 are still waiting for them.  The nearby plant nurseries are in good shape as far as the number of workers is concerned, but for work in the fields only a father and one son receive permits (which definitely limits their ability to cultivate their fields/greenhouses).  That’s the information about the Qalqilya sub-district; he didn’t know the situation in the Tulkarm sub-district.

People go through the inspection booth five at a time towards Habla, following A.’s instructions.  Cars, carts and bicycle riders cross in both directions, and a few dozen people on foot.

The gate closes officially at 18:20.