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...
Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Sun 8.4.12, Afternoon
Jaba checkpoint is east of Qalandiya checkpoint. Its declared purpose is the prevention of Israeli citizens from entering Area A.
Translating: Ruth Fleishman
Into the inner vehicle area a twelve year old girl from Jenin was being transferred in an ambulance from the occupied territories. The driver said that her condition required that she receive instant treatment and an urgent hospitalization, and added: "Lately they have been detaining me here a lot, sometimes even for two hours…", but the back-to-back transference was performed with no delays, apart for the ones necessary according to the occupational system (and not, heaven forbid, for malicious reasons), and these were: moving the child from one stretcher to the other, a meticulous inspection of the escorts' documents and rummaging through bags. "Perhaps today it was quick because you were here", said the driver.- No, it wouldn't be right to give us credit for that. It was a matter of luck.
Where is Yitzhak Kedman When You Need Him?
Fourteen year old Mahmud is a victim of life. One night last week he escaped for fear of his violent father, reached the entrance of the checkpoint and threw stones at the construction, attempting to get arrested. The soldiers came out, they arrested him, handcuffed and blindfolded him and took him to the military base at Atarot, during the entire ride they kept slapping him on his head.
In Atarot he was interrogated by people dressed as civilians (did they really need GSS people to interrogate this miserable child?), from there he was taken to Moskobia (= the Russian Compound). He was detained for a day or two. Mahmud lost track of time. For him and for others in this situation, the day turns into the next day which turns into the next day, and there is no telling the difference among them. He remembers sharing a cell with two children who were his age, and that when he was arrested the money he had in his pocket was taken from him. He even admitted with a sorrowful smile and acceptance: "No, it wasn't worth it".
The fruit market enwrapping the Palestinian side of the checkpoint is recovering from the raid, theft and destruction inflicted on it by the long hand of the occupation. Stands have once again been placed on the sides of the road and on the squares, Baladi fruit are once again piled and a lively and vibrant commerce is taking place once again- until the next time.
Where else are the dogs and paratroopers going to train if not here?
Originally the checkpoint was designed to prevent Israeli drivers (strictly them!) from arriving at Qalandiya and Ramallah and sometime used also to regulate the traffic on road 60 so as to ease the congestion on the road for the settlers, but the checkpoint is also used to train the dogs of the Oketz unit on Palestinian vehicles: the soldiers at the checkpoint randomly stop the vehicles passing by, the dog trainers hide in them a try with residues of explosives and then let the dog inside so that he sniff around and find the substance hidden. This time it wasn't the dogs that were in training but the paratroopers: "new soldiers", one of the seniors called them. The ones in training stood on the opposite side of the checkpoint and stop vehicles, they took the passengers out, checked their registrations, rummaged through the intestines of the vehicle and went on to the next vehicle.