These summaries not only prominent events but also the routine of the checkpoints, each of which is observed during a given period. During the many years of occupation, the Israeli Army and the Civil Administration have continually succeeded in tightening their control over the Palestinians living in their land inside the West Bank. Only those with a valid travel permit in their hand arrive at the checkpoints. These permits are mostly obtained with great difficulty and with deliberately imposedbureaucratic obstacles .
The Palestinians’ appalling problems in supporting...
MachsomWatch Alerts - March 2007
Due to the different publications about the injustice caused by the occupation, the soldiers and their commanders defend themselves by saying "these are the orders". The highest authorities are the ones who decide on these orders, in purpose to stop, detain and prevent life- the economy ("they won't eat"), health ("everybody is sick today!!"), education ("students are the worst"), family life ("they shouldn't breed") and the hesitant attempts at democracy ("why did they choose the Hamas?"). For this purpose they recruit not only the bureaucracy and it's orders, but also tactical and electronic aids that are supposed to "improve the occupation". We didn't make any of this up. These paragraphs are taken from the reports and have not been edited.
The BIDR in Bethlehem
A new machine- it examines fingerprints and is supposed to confirm that the BIDR (Biometrical Identification for Residents) belongs to the person holding it. Each person passing has to appear in front of the window of the soldier's shed, show his ID and then take a couple of steps backwards, move to the side and place his hand in the machine, then he must turn his head back to see when the soldier signals him that he can leave the machine and pass. (Bethlehem 1.3)
It appears that there are a lot of incompatibilities between people's fingerprints and their "BIDR". These people are sent back to Etzion DCO, but nothing can be done because the DCO is under renovations and the machine or the computer or even both of them, don't work. Therefore, it appears, people in such situations, when they want to pass through the checkpoint at Bethlehem, must call this number 02-9304010 to find out where they stand. Afterwards, if they find out that they are most likely "alright", then someone is supposed to call the soldier in the stall at the Bethlehem checkpoint and tell him to let them pass.
Even though we have already seen the fingerprint machine in use, the sight still stuns us. Some people stand in front of it for two-three-four minutes and can't manage it even with the soldier, who is sitting behind a glass window and keeps giving them orders, telling them how to put their hand on the machine.
The whole time there are hundreds of people waiting in line and it takes hours until they pass. (Bethlehem 23.3)
"She should be grateful that we don't send her to Jordan"
A student escorted by her aunt and the head of the council of Beit Furik, had arrived. That morning she tried passing into Nablus but was detained for two hours and then was sent back. The soldiers say they can't let her pass. Her mother, a Palestinian from Jordan, married a resident from Beit Furik and gave birth to her and her brother. They came back to Beit Furik 12 years ago and handed in requests for receiving Palestinian IDs. Her brother was the only one, to this day, that received his ID, her mother and she didn't receive it. We tried helping her pass by calling the army's hotline. They came back to us and said that Jordanian citizens aren't allowed to be in the west bank and therefore "she should be grateful that we don't send her back to Jordan". ( Beit Furik, 5.3)
Exploding Cheese or Who Moved the Knafe Cheese?
"What can I do with all this cheese in the sun. Come on soldier, let me pass the cheese. Look it's getting ruined".
"You can't take your car into Nablus" said the soldier. "You don't have a permit for the car".
"I don't have a permit for the car? But, you can see for yourself, I have a permit from the office of seeding, how do you call it, the ministry of agriculture, I am allowed to pass my cheese, I have sheep, I make cheese from them and sell it in Ramallah where they use it for Kanfe. Every week I transfer the cheese in my car to Nablus, from Nablus I go to Huwwara checkpoint and then I head to Ramallah. And now you, a bunch of new soldiers, tell me that I need a permit to enter with my car into Nablus. If you would let me I would bypass it, I don't even want to enter Nablus, I just want to get to Ramallah. How do you want me to pass all this cheese, on my back? ", said the cheese man and pointed at the buckets that were full of hard salty cheese.
"I don't care how you pass it, get into your car and drive away, I don't want to see you here again without a permit for your car".
The cheese man sighed in desperation and turned around to look for a car that had a permit to enter to Nablus.
After half an hour the cheese man found a car with a permit to enter Nablus. It took another thirty minutes to transfer the buckets from one car to the other, and another thirty minutes waiting in line, the soldier inspected the car for five minutes and sent them back to Beit Furik.
"What's the matter", we asked the soldier, "This car has a permit to enter Nablus".
"Yes it does", the solider said, "but the permit allows the car to enter empty, it hasn't got a permit to transfer merchandise"
. After twenty minutes he found a car with a permit to enter Nablus and to transfer merchandise. It took twenty minutes to move the buckets from one car to the other (by then they have become experts in this) and thank god the car passed the checkpoint and entered Nablus.
After an hour we left to Huwwara checkpoint. We parked at the faraway parking lot and walked to the checkpoint. From a far we saw buckets of cheese being moved from one car to the other.
"What is it with them and cheese today?" Inbal, my partner at the checkpoint, asked. Was everyone transferring cheese from one car to the other on that day?
We came closer. It was the same man that was at Beit Furik. He passed the checkpoint into Nablus, but the car he was in didn't have a permit to exit Nablus through Huwwara and head to Ramallah, so at the exit from Nablus, he started moving the cheese to another car that had a permit to transfer merchandise from Nablus through Huwwara. He got out of Nablus and then had to move the cheese again from one car to the other.
"What's the matter", we asked, "doesn't this car have a permit to transfer merchandise?"
"Yes it has", said the cheese man, "it has a permit to transfer merchandise".
"So why are you moving the cheese form one car to the other all over again?" we asked.
"It doesn't have a permit to pass through Za'atara. I'm swapping it with a car that has a permit to pass through Za'atara in the direction of Ramallah.
A Tale about a Coat
A man in a coat that according to the soldier was a "BP coat", had arrived. And woops, "do you have a permit for the coat?", the soldier asked. He didn't really understand, perhaps because he didn't speak Hebrew and perhaps because it's rather odd that one also needs a permit for a coat. "Come here for a moment. You need a permit for the coat. Oh, really, how can I explain this to him... I ask him something and he doesn't understand". Have no fear, there's a "good" ending. The man probably showed the soldier a note and went on his way. (Huwwara, 14.3)
Beyond the northern checkpoint a soldier caught a young man. We watched the young man do as he was told and raise his pants, as the soldier grabbed him and led him through the turnstiles bringing him near the cellar. His ID was taken from him. They took his coat off him, it appeared to be one of those old military coats. The soldier flaunted with the confiscated coat. I remembered that during one of our shifts we saw a permit from the manufacturer, which said that the coat had been purchased legally (meaning that it wasn't military property). The young man's ID was given back to him quickly and he was told to leave the checkpoint. The young man spoke only Arabic and tried explaining something to the solider that didn't speak a word of Arabic. Another soldier that did know Arabic, listened to the young man, who was eventually sent back home without his coat. The soldier that confiscated the coat happily told the other soldier at the checkpoint that "my brother has been looking for years for such a coat... I have to wash it". (Huwwara, 16.3)
For the attention of the Humanitarian Center
A father to a child with cancer is on the Secret Service's black list, the child is going through daily treatments in Hadassa hospital.
The father arrived at the DCO on Sunday, on the week before, he was told to come on the next day... On Monday he was told to come back on Tuesday... On Tuesday they gave him a permit for one day, on Wednesday they told him to come back on Thursday, on Thursday it was snowing and he didn't come, on Sunday they said that he should have come on Thursday to place a new request, on Monday he received a permit for one day 20/3//07. Today he found out that he got a permit for a week, until the 25/3, and he received it only today, why should they give him a permit for a week that starts today?!!! On Monday this week he will return to the DCO and ask to be with his child that has cancer and that is going through daily treatments in Hadassa Ain Carem. (Bethlehem 22.3)