Elkana salient, Hani, Oranit, Habla and Jayyus checkpoints - A tour

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Esther, an American guest, Karin Lindner (reporting and photographing) Translator: Charles K.

I was asked to give a tour to a student whose family lives in the Bat Ayin settlement and wanted to hear and see the situation from the other side.

14:45  We arrived at the Elkana salient after explaining en route about the occupation, the settlements, the separation fence, and the seam zone.  The work on the waterworks or sewage installation next to Hani Gate is expanding.  While we were explaining a civilian security vehicle arrived to check whether we were alright.

The student was amazed to see “large homes” in the settlements because she’d understood from her family that they’re forbidden to build with concrete, but only with less-permanent materials.  I replied that apparently their land had not been formally registered and tried to explain the complex issue of State Lands, and of private Palestinian land ownership on the West Bank.

We stopped at the Oranit checkpoint (4).  She noticed someone who’d managed to sneak past or over the high fence.

We continued to Highway 55 and saw the work progressing on both sides to widen it and separate the access road to the plant nurseries from the main highway (cf. Amira Hass’s Friday article, 5.11.21, regarding the environmental damage caused).  After a brief circuit in Alfei Menasheh and explanations about the villages trapped in the seam zone we went to ‘Arab a-Ramadin, which is not officially recognized.  We met the village head next to the school.  He told us they’d finished building a school for all grades.  That explains the shortening of the hours Habla checkpoint is open.  The children and parents are pleased, but sometimes the teachers don’t manage to arrive.

From there through the Eliyahu checkpoint, and after a visit to ‘Azzun to show a Palestinian town we drove through Jayous and back to Highway 55.

We reached the Habla checkpoint after 5 PM and decided not to wait for it to open at 6 PM.  But we saw the many people returning to their homes on the West Bank.  No longer individual people sneaking through – cars arrive one by one and the workers get out.