Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 18.5.09, Afternoon
13.45 Shomron crossing
Traffic to the east not checked.
In spite of that a truck stood at the side of the road and a woman wearing the uniform of a security firm stand next to the baggage compartment and the driver shows something inside.
13.57 Marda is open and Zeita has a mound of sand and cement blocks.
13.58 On the hills at the southern side are a group of caravans and underneath land which has been cleared of stones and straightened out. This is the settlement of Tapuah.
Three cars in each direction. On the cement blocks are various proclamations, one of which is from Lag Ba'Omer and others saying, "Bibi you do not have permission from the people to withdraw."
The sentry tower overlooking the cars entering Nablus had been moved to the opening of the parking area for cars. It is manned by a woman soldier and today the job of security is in the hands of women soldiers. It is very hot and the sun blazes down. The parking lot is full. 3 checking areas for pedestrians of whom there are few during our entire shift.
We went to see what was happening in the car lane exiting the city. We stood next to the plastic checkpoint in the area where pedestrians are checked. There is an x-ray machine and 2 checking areas. 12 cars in line. It did not take more than a few minutes for the commander of the checkpoint, a second lieutenant to appear together with an armed woman soldier. He commanded us to move from the place where we were standing. Why? What all of a sudden? :"Those are the orders of the army," he said and was not prepared to answer our questions. We went back to the pedestrian area.
In the meantime the same commander accompanied again by the female soldier arrived at the parking lock and began to order the kiosk owners to pack them up. And to emphasize his seriousness he hit them with his rifle though not hard it must be added. We phoned the commander of the DCO office to complain about his behaviour, refusing to allow us to watch and also his behaviour to the owners of the kiosks. About the vantage point Z. said he would deal with it and he said that for at least 6 months there had been an order forbidding the opening of kiosks because of cleanliness and hygiene. People in cars can bring through with them if they want. The kiosks remained standing where they were.
One of the pedestrians was refused exit from Nablus. He came to us and asked for help. He had forgotten his ID at home in Kusra and he was on his way home. We phoned the humanitarian line and N. answered, "When you go to a movie you have to buy a ticket, right? Otherwise you will not be allowed in. An ID is like a ticket to the movies."
15.10 We left.
15.23 Beit Furik
Cars entering Nablus are not checked nor cars arriving from there. The place where pedestrians had been checked has been taken down. We left immediately.
No cars in line.
15.30 A flying checkpoint at the crossroads of the roads 57/60. A border police jeep is parked in the field and stop cars for checking. When we got there one of the passengers was taken for a physical inspection to the jeep. In the beginning he stood at the back entrance of the jeep and was told to lift his hands and after taken to the part of the jeep from which nothing could be seen and there he was ordered to stand with his legs apart. After a few minutes his ID was returned to him and he went back to the taxi which drove off. While we were still standing there watching what was happening another border police jeep arrives and one of the police scolded us and tried to insult Nadim. Next to us were two men who were renovating a building and one of them said, " When the occupation began I was 13 years old." He lifted his hat and showed his white hair. "Is this a life, is this a life? It is dead" and offered us water.
15.52 We left. Opposite Beita was an army jeep.