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 - November 2008
Cruelty and Stupidity galore
"A Jewish soldier sides with Jew, an Arab policeman sides with Arabs" (thus a phosphorescent slogan posted by Jewish-colonist civilians on the army's concrete slabs in every junction and within the checkpoint compound and other army barriers at Zaatara(Tapuach) and Huwwara.) (Huwwara, 9.11)
The X-ray truck is parked so that objects falling out of it after being inspected land directly in a muddy, filthy puddle. Not a sea, not a lake. A clearly limited puddle. But who sees, who cares? Certainly not those who position the white army X-Ray truck. Palestinian women in their long dresses invariably brushed the mire with their hems as they hurried to gather their belongings. (Huwwara, 2.11)
Two women-soldiers working the checking posts. They carry an incessant tirade of vulgar nonsense. Among other screeches: "Here's Yossi Bublil! (recent Israeli TV reality-show hero) Now isn't he the spitting image of Bublil?" "Come on, come on, man." "How do you say in Arabic 'tomato'? Bandora? You're a bandora head!" "Come hither, now!" (sic!) "You're bleeping. Strip." "Why are you limping, has anyone taken a shot at you?" (Huwwara, 2.11)
Fire breaks out west of Huwwara checkpoint, destroying fields and groves belonging to farmers of the Palestinian village Burin, near the Jewish colony Har Beracha. The DCO summons two fire-fighter trucks from Nablus. When these arrive at the checkpoint they are made to wait for an army vehicle escort because 'this road belongs to the colonists only' (!). By the time the escort arrives, the fire has devoured plots in an area that survived last week's arson. Around the burning plots, the colony-rabbi's vehicle was seen as well as an armored mini-tractor belonging to the colonists. Burin's local council chairman arrived at the site and stood there alone, helpless - once again, just as was the case last week, no one will be found and charged with arson. (Huwwara, 6.11)
Huge number of people, hundreds. Waiting time varies between half an hour at the beginning of our shift to over an hour at heavier moments. As usual lately, all the "order-keeping' by the very stressed soldiers and 'educating' the Palestinians constantly. the Military Policewomen's shrieks and vulgar gruffness is insupportable and incessant, and they are obviously a mental wreck. Soldiers are constantly coming over to chase away - with their typical hostile and rude hand gestures and shouts - all the men who stop a moment after coming out of the turnstiles to tuck their shirt back into their trousers and put their belts back on. All done 'Quick! Quick!' in order to maintain a 'sterile area' after being cleared by inspection. (Huwwara, 23.11)
About 150 pedestrians and 37 cars counted waiting to exit Nablus towards Beit Furik. The drivers coming from Beit Furik report hours of waiting at the checkpoint, especially in the last two weeks. (Beit Furik, 6.11)
This is how things have been running for years now, 'all for the sake of Israel's security'. And now, a week ago, all of a sudden and with no explanation, the vehicle restrictions for entry into Nablus have been removed at Beit Furik and Huwwara, and permits for the very same vehicles are no longer needed! A veritable time of miracles. Perhaps more checkpoints can finally be removed?
This is how it works: people slowly approach the officer to get a number for the waiting line. He stops handing out numbers and says, 'move back'. People move back, not enough; then he stops handing out numbers again. He turns his back and waits. Turns around again - no, they haven't moved back far enough. Finally, either the fellow handing out numbers gives in, or the people reach some imaginary line they should wait behind and the number distribution is resumed. Another break. All in the greatest courtesy. The officer handing out the numbers was consistently polite, but the procedure was most humiliating.
Finally all the numbers were issued, and several youngsters remained numberless. Stay or leave? Would more numbers be issued later? No one knows. It depends on the pace of the proceedings. What difference does it make? No one shows any consideration for Palestinians' time. (Bethlehem 2.11)
A man approached us: he had managed to enter after a long wait, but exited shortly thereafter. He wanted an appointment with the police representative, but learned that the official would not be around until Thursday. He was told that this information was posted outside. I went to look for such an announcement. Did not find any, neither on the door, not in the waiting hall. I asked the soldier whether a police representative is present inside. He let me in to see the announcement - indeed, on one of the walls of the inner room hung a police announcement specifying that no public reception would take place until Thursday. What's the point of posting information in an inner room that can only be entered by Palestinians after being issued a number for the waiting line, waiting for hours on end, and all this only in order to discover a written note revealing that all these efforts have been in vain, to be repeated at a later date? (Bethlehem, 12.11)
Checkpoint 300 - Bethlehem
Today was a good day. Traffic flowed. At 7 a.m. there were hardly any pedestrians. The recently upgraded equipment is effective. Every checking post is now equipped with a biometric stand and special slot for presenting the magnetic card (proving the holder cleared of any police or 'security' record): the pedestrian is then cleared for passage. One of the Palestinians told us that yesterday was a tough day. Perhaps, despite all this technology, the real problem is human and things simply and finally depend on the officer in charge of the checkpoint that day. (Bethlehem, 26.11)
At the end of our shift we headed for Betar Illit colony. We crossed the checkpoint, where a clear sign announces "PASSAGE FOR ISRAELIS ONLY'.
Any Palestinian from the neighboring villages who needs to travel to his work in the Israeli localities such as Tzur Hadassah and holds the necessary permit to do so, must make a very long detour: cross the Bethlehem Checkpoint to the Israeli side, travel by service cabs via Ein Kerem to Nes Harim (all within the green line, Israeli localities neighboring Jerusalem) and thus arrive at the other side of the same checkpoint - at least an hour wasted. (Bethlehem, 17.11)