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...
Beit Ummar, Bethlehem (300), Etzion DCL, Halhul, Hebron, Nabi Yunis, Mon 20.2.12, Morning
7.05 Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: it is very busy on this bright cold morning (further south there were still traces of snow in the fields). Four stations were operating with long, but quickly passing, lines and everyone said that conditions were ‘very good’ or even ‘excellent.’
7.30-8.00 Hussan and El Khadr: three meetings are sheduled - for power of attorney and payments (one who hadn’t managed to come last week).
8.05 Etzion DCL: we were told that there would be no police at Etzion DCL, but there would be at other DCL’s. There were 12 men waiting outside. By 8.15 they were all admitted and through the carousel. As we left the DCL we got a call to say that the computers were down at all the DCL’s. Chaya then contacted all the people she had directed to the various DCL’s for documents, to tell them not to go today.
8.45 Beit Ummar: An arranged meeting to collect documents. The man told us that conditions had been very hard lately now that Golani have been posted there.
A TALE OF HEBRON: our friend whom we often meet at Halhul told us: He and his family live in poverty, as we know, very near Mearat Ha-Machpela. The other morning, at about 9 o’clock, after his older children had gone to school he was returning home when he found it surrounded by a big group of soldiers who did not want him to approach. He finally persuaded them to let him enter and found them savagely ransacking his home. His wife was alone with their two little children (one 3 years old). The soldiers were emptying drawers of clothing, emptying food bags – rice, etc. – on to the floor. (He showed us photographs that he took of the havoc.) Then a woman soldier came and took the wife for a full body search – and the little children were also made to strip for searching! When our friend protested he was told that he could complain to A. at a particular phone number. One doesn’t have to stretch one’s imagination too much to understand the purpose of such a visit and what A’s function must be.
9.15 Nabi Yunis: two clients for signing Power of Attorney for searching police records. one Power of Attorney and payment for lawyer. One man whom we have met previously and had ascertained that he is ‘clear’ with both police and Security, says he is nevertheless still not permitted entry.
At Halhul we again met, as arranged, the man whom the MW lawyer said he would not be able to help. The man had heard that a member of MW in the south could do so. We once again warned him to be cautious about paying any lawyer who promised to get him a permit.
9.30 Etzion gas station. Pre-arranged meeting.
Throughout, there were incessant phone calls, either of by new people refused permits by police or Security, or to ask about progress in solving their problems.