Elkana salient, Oranit, Falamya, Habla

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Karin L. (reporting and photographing).  Guests:  Iris A., Eli A. from Combatants for Peace; Translator:  Charles K.

A normal shift and mini-tour.

We began at the Elkana salient, explaining about the seam zone, the separation barrier and the seasonal gatesinfo-icon that don’t open.  We continued to the Oranit checkpoint, which is supposed to open three times a day for farmers from ‘Azzun ‘Atma whose lands and greenhouses are about 200 meters distant from it. 

It doesn’t open at all, by order of the army, as punishment, we’re told, for theft of iron rods.

We met a boy who explained he’s joining his father who has a permit to work his land, and then walked west.  Suddenly he appeared with a donkey cart and galloped north along the security road.

12:35  Falamya checkpoint (North) (914)

A drizzle began and we sheltered in the pump shed with a young man who works there and a second waiting to cross to his land – his father’s land, actually – who told us they have no problem receiving permits, usually for two years.  But others receive them for shorter periods.  He explained to our guests the exhausting bureaucratic difficulties involved in filling out all the forms, and the tiring demand each time to provide anew the land registry documents.  The rain strengthened; the soldiers opened the gate 15 minutes late.  Six people crossed on foot and were picked up by cars waiting for them or by four tractors pulling carts that crossed behind them; six people on bicycles also went through.

The gate closed.  We continued toward Jayyus gate (the new name, according to the latest chart we received.  It was previously called Falamiya south.) 935.  We didn’t reach it because of the weather but remained on the old security road and I described the changes that had occurred in agriculture and the types of crops in the area that had been returned after the fence was relocated westward.  We continued to Habla via Jayyus and ‘Azzun.

3:45  Habla checkpoint (1393).  We met Fathiya and Ariella and saw the last of the people crossing, before the gate closed, being carefully inspected by the soldiers.

We left to continue the tour in the Alfei Menashe salient and to view the separation fence that had been relocated following a Supreme Court decision.  We received a telephone call from Fathiya who told us of a 10 year old boy who wasn’t allowed to cross to his father who was waiting for him at the checkpoint, and was sent back alone to Habla because he didn’t have the original of his birth certificate.