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...
'Einabus, Huwwara, Jama'in, Za'tara (Tapuah), Zeta, Tue 19.6.12, Afternoon
We began our route on the cross-Shomron highway. Tractors are enlarging the Barkan industrial zone. There were no checkpoints or inspections at Za’tara and Huwwara.
We returned via Inabus and Jama’in. At Beita we ran into the army, two jeeps and an armored vehicle parked at a street corner, the soldiers interrogating Palestinians.
We stopped; the officer motioned to us to open the window. “What are you doing here?,” he asked. “We’re driving around,” we replied. “Under whose auspices?”, he asked. “Machsom Watch,” we answered. “OK, you can keep going.” We stopped, of course, got out of the car, but before we could take more than a few steps the soldiers started their vehicles and drove off.
People had gathered near a local grocery. They told us this wasn’t the first time that captain Haver and his soldiers stop people for interrogation – asking, for example, where they work, and if they say “Palestine” they’re asked why they don’t’ work in Israel. They asked one man for his phone number; he asked why and was told “So I can call and talk to you.” Most of the people they interrogate are young men.
They concluded with a terrible story: There’s an Israeli renovations contractor who obtains Israeli work permits for people and charges them NIS 2000/month for them. They say there are some people in Zeita who pay him; they didn’t know exactly how many.
We left with very heavy hearts.
We continued to Qira, Kifl Hars, and to the Hars club where a surprise awaited. A new class of elementary and high school girls who came to learn English during the entire vacation.