The new checkpoint / roadblock at ‘Azzun ‘Atma leaves ten household outside the village. It is hard to believe, but there are Palestinians who need to go through a checkpoint on the way to the grocery store and back again. It is hard to envision the sight of a 13 year-old boy approaching a soldier, showing her a permit, and passing through the checkpoint. A few minutes later he returns with the groceries. It is hard to envision, but I saw it. And not one boy, but several. The amount of groceries is examined, there is a quota for every household.
The village is now sealed on every side. Entry and exit are dependant on examination and the presentation of an ID. The gate closes at 9pm. A local told me that a few days ago he took his daughter to the hospital and couldn’t come back in time. He stayed to sleep there. Others tell how the army uses the main street of the village as a security road. Every night there is traffic of military jeeps. Soldiers stop people and ask to see their IDs, question them as to where they live. We stand together with the locals by the parking lot and they tell us about their lives with the new military presence. Unbelievable. In other villages the occupation takes place outside the village. Within the village it is possible to move around (that is, most of the time, excluding times of curfew, or instances of a grass widow. A presence of the Border Police, on the other hand, is considered routine). But still, it is possible to pop in to the grocery store, like any person, to go visit a family member. Not in ‘Azzun ‘Atma.