Habla Checkpoint (1393)

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Nina S., Herzliya A. Translator:  Charles K.

Afternoon hours 16:20 – 17:00

A relatively rainy day, which seems to be why few are crossing

The occupation routine; complaints that the checkpoint opened late.  A new road for settlers is about to be built.

16:12  The soldiers arrived.  While they prepare to open the gate one of those waiting told us the checkpoint doesn’t open on time and the soldiers are usually late.  In the morning they often don’t show up until 07:40 instead of 07:10 when it’s supposed to open.  He says they’re supposed to open at 16:20 in the afternoon.

16:23  The soldiers open the gate.  A very slow drizzle of people crossing on foot, a few cars and electric bicycles.

Two young Bedouin women in a car driven by one of them stop beside us to say hello and give us a big smile.  They from ‘Arab el-Ramadin, attractive and well-groomed.  They’re teachers in Qalqiliya.  Very pleasant and charming.

A. crosses in his car.  He tells us he has the plans and much information about the projected new bypass road.

16:52  A guy arrives with a crossing permit for Eliyahu Gate, No. 109.  They tell him to use “his” gate.  How will he reach it?  Taxi, on foot?  I estimate it’s about 5 km away.

17:00  A group of four approaches.  The soldiers are somewhat impatient and one threatens to close the gate.  When they arrive they’re reprimanded, but allowed through.  Nina asks the soldiers:  And what happens when you’re late?  Silence.

We entered A.’s plant nursery (nearer to the gate), and when he arrived we sat to talk.  He says the bypass road, with four lanes, will start right after the traffic light intersection where you can turn off to Tayibe.  It will reach Yizhar (ie., Huwwara) and bypass all the Palestinian localities along the way (How, for example, will people enter or leave ‘Azzun and all the other villages??  What about Funduq?  We don’t know yet.  I’ll try next week to see the plans.  Today A. closed before we could reach him).  But there will be a connecting road to the plant nurseries, so people will be able to reach them.  (When arriving from Israel – turn right immediately after the Highway 6 overpass, then through the fields to the plant nurseries.  To exit from the southern nurseries – drive to the road from Habla to Qalqiliya, pass through the tunnel beneath it and back north to the new road, to the northern nurseries, and back to Israel).  I didn’t understand how to get from the nurseries to Qalqilya if you can’t go through the Qalqiliya checkpoint.  He also said that the Palestinian Transport Minister was in the area and there was some ceremony, apparently to celebrate the opening of the plaza opposite the westernmost nursery.  He said that they’ll apparently expropriate the land on which the road will be built, or pay a minimum amount to its owners.  That means a large part of the portion of the nurseries bordering the planned road, including a well, will be expropriated, and all access routes will be very difficult – their income will be greatly reduced.  He was also very pessimistic about what’s happening in the world, but has positive feelings toward the Jews he knows and is friendly with.