Falamiya North Checkpoint (914), Falamiya South Checkpoint (935)

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Annelien K., Nura R. (reporting) Translator:  Charles K.

05:50  We arrived at the checkpoint ten minutes before it opened; the air was still chilly.  The Palestinians are waiting in a kind of structure where a small fire is burning, and we join those warming themselves.  Only the older men who’ve worked for years in Israel speak Hebrew.  One of them, whom we’ve known for a long time, addresses me:  “What do think, how will it all end?”  That’s my question also…

The gate opens at 06:00, on time, but (perhaps to balance things out) the MP’s work slowly and each group of five is stopped for a few minutes before the line is allowed to advance.  We met another person we knew who had always crossed in his battered car; today he’s on a bicycle.  He says that suddenly, with no explanation, the permit for the car wasn’t renewed.  He comes by bike and consoles himself with the thought that at his age exercise is important…  Another elderly Palestinian arrives with a donkey that’s made to cross like a tractor – that is, the “driver” is inspected separately from the “vehicle.”  The donkey’s owner has no choice but to tie the donkey to the fence, be inspected along with the laborers, return after inspection to get the donkey (leaving his ID with the MP).  The donkey’s owner is worried the donkey might get loose and run off, but the procedure is completed without incident…

Given the number of people crossing –  farmers and   ten tractors – it’s not certain that fewer individual permits are being issued.  One tractor owner whom we recognize because he crosses every day forgot his ID at home and must go back.  He takes with the female soldier and apparently convinces her he’ll cross at the third checkpoint (at the outskirts of Jayous).

07:00  Jayyus gate.  It also opens on time.  There are fewer people and tractors here, as usual.  The gate closes at 07:20. 

We arrived late at the third gate/checkpoint because we met with N. in Jayyus.  We returned via Nabi Ilyas, whose main street has been deserted ever since the bypass road opened.