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...
A Ramin, Habla, Ras 'Atiya, Wed 21.12.11, Afternoon
The checkpoint is presently on the Separation Barrier roadway, manned and open 12 hours a day, from 6:30 to 18:30. West of it is the large Seam Line village whose school is attended by children from the nearby villages east of the Barrier and many of whose inhabitants have permits to work in Israel. How long this checkpoint will remain in place is unknown, since construction of the Separation Wall, just by the settlement of Alfe Menashe, east of the present Separation Barrier, is endless, as is the creation of a new road and, obviously, a new checkpoint.
Translator: Charles K.
Waiting for God and the third intifada
13:00 - Habla
Palestinian women prostitutes in Israel???
A Palestinian man (who seemed to have been speaking for a long time; we arrived late): …The day will come when they’ll be trampled underfoot. You’ll see. What kind of world is this? – I need permission to access my own land?!
“Now the Jew is in charge. Not forever. The soldiers are Satan’s emissaries. They’re the emissaries of Satan in the world. There will be an explosion in Nablus. In Qalqilya. There will be explosions everywhere. People here have no food. People have gone through and haven’t returned. Women have gone through and haven’t returned.” Seeing our uncomprehending expression, he explains: “Women crossed to Israeland became prostitutes. The time will come when they won’t be silent. A woman who leaves her children – who’ll feed them if she gets sick? They’ll learn to steal. To do bad things. You’re forcing us into it. The Jews should… [curses], the Arabs should also… [different curse]. God won’t help us because we don’t heed him. I read the Koran – the Moslems once ruled. When we heeded God. God asks the same things from Moslems, from Jews and from Christians as well. Read the Koran. No one helps us. Only God will help when we heed him. People in Africahave no water. I still do. The poor, wretched Africans.”
13:10 The school bus returns.
Our friend prefers a jumpy Natan Zehavi and Carmela Menashe.
A Ramin, the Bedouin village which exists only so its inhabitants can be harassed and its buildings demolished.
We brought clothing for families whose buildings had been demolished. “At 11 last night, while we slept, soldiers came and woke us, asked for our documents. We must complain to the higher-ups. UNRWA and the Red Cross provided tents and food for the children. A week ago, someone from the Civil Administration at Beit Al Amar: Next month I’m issuing you a demolition order. The tent is also illegal. They don’t let us live. We work in Alfei Menashe. NIS250 per day, as gardeners, in construction. The family moved here in 1960 from Beersheba. The sheep had no grass. Now there are few sheep, no grazing land.” He doesn’t listen to Arab radio stations. But he listens faithfully to Natan Zehavi and Carmela Menashe. “That Carmela – someone whose head is clogged, she’ll talk it open. Maybe you have Channel 10’s phone number. Maybe they’ll help if something happens.”
“Once I thought: Jews and Arabs – brothers until death. Today – if only there would be an intifada.”
15:10 – Ras Atiya
[A resident of Azzun described in detail the shortest route to Ras Atiya. How astonished he was to learn we’re not allowed to enter Habla. His expression said: I’ve never heard of anything so ridiculous.]
A new acquaintance, a resident of Ras Atiya, tells us we’ve come at a difficult time. An elderly man has been killed. They’re afraid more people will be killed. [The background – a blood feud; no one know how it will end]. The Palestinian police can’t do their job and protect people’s lives because their mobility is restricted by the occupying army.
The army enters the village from time to time and prevents people from accessing their lands. They sometimes come at two in the morning, at three. They sound an alarm. The soldiers’ faces are painted black. If they catch someone, he could be detained for three hours.
The village has 1900 inhabitants. Hundreds applied for permits during the olive harvest, but only 25(!) were granted. Children also need a permit. There’s no alternative – some abandon the crop, others pay half the crop to those who have permits. The permits are granted arbitrarily. Some get a permit for three months, others for a year, “depending on how they feel, how it was in bed with the wife.” Landowners can’t carry out other agricultural activities because of a lack of a supportive economic infrastructure. No one will compensate them for damages caused by weather (unlike in proper countries). So someone who erects a greenhouse that’s carried off by the wind has lost everything. He hasn’t yet even repaid his NIS12,000 loan. Some have abandoned farming because of the miniscule return – NIS5 for a crate of tomatoes.
People say the magnetic cards are phony. They’re only for the occupier’s benefit, so they can get a current photo and fingerprint. Renewing a magnetic card costs NIS120. The scanners are carcinogenic.
The most obvious fact is how many locals have been blacklisted by the Shabak. That outrages and astonishes people we speak to because not even one stone was thrown here. There’s no way to find out why someone was blacklisted. The four people we spoke to have all been blacklisted. Lawyers charge them very high fees, promise nothing and do nothing. Who can afford to throw NIS32,000 to the winds? Sometimes it turns out that the police have nothing against someone, but that’s not the case with the Shabak. And, as you know, the Shabak doesn’t have to account to anyone. The usual response: “You’re blacklisted for 99 years.” There are many collaborators in the village (and elsewhere as well). Someone who refuses to collaborate can expect to be blacklisted permanently.
One man says: “I worked in Israeluntil 2000. I was a contractor. Life was good. I worked during the day and enjoyed myself at night. I loved the Tel Aviv promenade. I loved Jews so much I wanted to convert. I once said, ‘We’re brothers unto death.’ Today – they can…[curses]. I hope an intifada will erupt. I’m already 30, and still haven’t done anything with my life. Go to sleep and wake up, go to sleep and wake up - that’s a life? That’s no life. The collaborator turned my life black. I’d kill that informer if I knew who he was. The whole problem is when you’re not a collaborator. The terror is your fault. When there’s nothing to eat, why are you surprised that someone will blow themselves up so their family receives $100,000. You don’t want security. In my heart I say: ‘Lord, bring back the intifada.’”
Our interlocutor refuses to return with us via the absurd route we took. He insists on taking us a faster way. No one stopped us. As he promised.