Spotlight highlights Checkpoint events characteristic of the policy of the occupation: the systematic repudiation of basic human rights in the occupied territories. For Palestinians, reality is a complicated tangle of problems (survival in the everyday, education, health, making a living…) that cannot be solved because the Israeli occupation is conducted by enforcing countless inhuman bans. The Spotlights rely on collections of relevant reports from the field.
In the Dimmed Light of Streetlamps – the IDF Maintains Moral Blackout
Route 443, Tuesday 15.1.08, am
Observers: Tamar B, Anat S (reporting)
05:00 - 06:15
On Route 443, five minutes from Modi’in and the communities of Maccabim and Reut, in the freezing cold of morning, starting at 05:00, the IDF brings together six conscript soldiers and 600 Palestinian workers, holders of permits to build the State of Israel.
Under the indifferent eyes of hundreds of Israeli drivers, who pass down the road without a glance, the escalation flourishes.
From 04:00 the workers crowd the area, hoping to be the first to pass and then start their day’s work. They light fires to warm a little, and crowd around the flames.
A 15 meter (45 foot) long roof built to give waiting protection against the elements, but barely sufficient for a few people, stands empty. In its place, a magnometer (metal detector) at one end, and at the other a line of Palestinians under the cold sky. By the magnometer sometimes two soldiers stand, listening to its beeps. At the other end of the roof, two soldiers on high concrete barriers (a meter above the ground) check the validity of the workers’ documents.
If it was not yet clear who was the conqueror, along comes a creative officer and raises his soldiers even higher. Now the Palestinians have to stand on tiptoe to hand their IDs to the Occupier. Now the balance of power is even clearer!
Seems that the check is over, but no, the soldier at the end of the line whose task it is to defend the soldiers doing the inspections, has another role: to poke into the workers’ nylon bags. Yes, that’s right, to check...
The wait lasts an hour, in the pre-dawn cold, an hour of standing in one spot without moving, and the soldiers maintain the line.
Who in the IDF invented this humiliating procedure? Lines and waiting in the bitter cold, without shelter, in slow and ineffective checks? And who is responsible for it today? This is our enlightened and moral army...
And who are the civilians who see (or don’t want to see)? Some 60,000 people live today in Modi’in, Maccabim and Reut, a "quality" population, excellent schools, good pupils, but five minutes from their homes, before dawn and under the cover of darkness, the disgrace occurs. Jewish mothers whose sons serve in these places, go out and see if they are defending or condemning – see what their commanders send them to do for three years.
And you, the drivers who flash by on the road in warmed cars, pleasant music on your radios – take a look at what is happening, perhaps stop for a moment to absorb what the IDF is doing in your names.
Don’t say you did not know!