Dogs, dog trainer
Translation: Bracha B.A.
We can already see workers being checked beyond the second gate, buttoning their pants, refastening their belts, and tucking in their shirts. Sometimes we hear people calling, "Get back!" or "One at a time!"
By 06:40 13 people and 3 tractors have passed through. An invalid somehow convinces the soldiers by waving his hands and motioning that he has land and wants to go to work there. At 06:40 the gate closes and a lieutenant announces to us that the show is over and there is nothing else for us to do there.
07:00 Reihan Barta'a
About a quarter of the lower parking lot is filled with cars. Not many people are coming to the checkpoint. There are no tenders with merchandise. Six cars are waiting in front of the first position to be checked. At 07:27 7 cars approach the inspection point as the dogs bark
One car is going to the West Bank. Malach, a smiling nine-year-old girl, whom we are taking to Rambam hospital for treatment, comes out of the empty terminal. She is accompanied by her father or another relative and another person joins them for the who is also going to the hospital.
03:15 – 06:15 We decided to start before dawn in order to see what goes on at the Hamra checkpoint during the hours that people cross on their way to work. We asked what time it starts to get crowded, and decided to arrive by 4 am. It was dark when we started out – still night, and hot!!!
Bezeq checkpoint 03:15
We went through.
We decided to begin at the Hamra checkpoint. We drove on Route 90 (the Jordan Valley road). We turned west at the Jiftlik, toward the Hamra checkpoint.
04:00 Hamra checkpoint
The area of the checkpoint is illuminated. The DCO jeep and four soldiers. Two buses parked on the side, on their way to Kalya. The passengers, laborers from around Jenin, put their belts back on as they walk toward the buses. This scene will accompany us all morning. A military vehicle (for transporting prisoners) arrived at 04:20; 8-10 soldiers, two female soldiers a and a dog get out. A minibus crosses, carrying laborers from Tubas to the settlement of Yafit, then to the settlement of Ro’i, and so on. From time to time some of those crossing go off to the side of the checkpoint area (toward the southwest) to pray.
Many car headlights are visible on the road west of the checkpoint (the cars turn off their lights in the checkpoint area). Apparently the passengers get out ahead of time and go through the security check before their vehicle arrives and goes through the checkpoint. We see the passengers waiting for the vehicle which brought them (a minibus or bus or some other vehicle). It’s hard to say how long a vehicle waits on line until reaching the checkpoint. We timed two buses: ten minutes from the moment one crossed until it left, and most of the passengers were already waiting for it. Most of those crossing are young men, laborers in the settlements (picking dates and grapes). Very few women. Some families also crossed. More than once the DCO told us proudly that each morning 4,000 or more people cross. This morning the number seemed smaller.
The soldiers at the checkpoint (armored corps reservists) guard both sides of the road. The dog is located at the position on the road. One of the soldiers approaches us, gently asks what we’re doing here. “A winning family” is written on his hat. “Ah, that’s our battalion’s hat…” His compatriots urge him to stop talking to us and get back to his guard post on the road.
05:15 Someone from Tayasir approaches us. He says that people are let through Tayasir very slowly, one at a time, and it takes a long time between vehicles. He gave up waiting to cross there and crossed through Hamra after a detour of an hour (through Tubas).
So we went to Tayasir.
05:45 Tayasir. A cool wind.
Four reservists. A fifth in the tower. The place is pretty deserted, apparently the busy time is over. We say hello to the laborers. No one complains that the crossing is slow or about long lines.
Soldier: “Don’t you say good morning to us if we’re not Arabs???”
05:55 Soldiers begin arriving from the base to replace the five stationed there.
06:05 The entire shift has been replaced. Someone asks, referring to us, “What’s this?,” and another answers, “They’re making a documentary about you.”
06:10 A truck passes, loaded with sand and gravel for construction, and we leave. The place is empty.
06:30 Bezeq checkpoint
They didn’t even ask how we were.
Translation: Suzanne O.
We continued on to the Za'atra/Tapuach Junction and, on the way, we noticed that the eastern and western gates to Marda were open, and that there were a number of wide breaches of the fence.
The crossing at Zeita /Jemayn is also open.
At Za'atra/Tapuach a number of vehicles cross, they are stopped from time to time for a rapid visual inspection.
On the way to Huwwara, at Beita a military jeep is parked at the side of the road and the same is true in Huwwara itself. In both cases the vehicles were parked at the side of the road and the soldiers did not alight, at least not while we passed by them.
At Huwwara roadblock a taxi is detained at the exit from Nablus. The vehicles in this direction cross the roadblock slowly but are not inspected. At the entrance to Nablus the vehicles cross without slowing down. Vehicles with Israeli number plates are stopped but permitted to pass.
At one of the positions in the direction of the exit from Nablus a car is parked with a dog tied up beside it. A soldier comes up to us and introduces herself as a member of the Sting unit. She asks us not to take photographs at the roadblock because of security issues related to the presence of her unit, this in spite of the fact that we didn't have a camera with us.
The taxi is released and another vehicle is detained. The soldiers order the passengers to alight and stand at the side. The dog is sent to inspect the vehicle and after about 6 minutes they are released and another vehicle is detained, inspected by the dog and so on and so on. At the same time a bus is detained for inspection and waits for over 10 minutes until it is released.
At Awarta there is one lorry, its driver is required to alight and open the doors of the container for a rapid inspection. After that he is released. On the way to Beit Furiq, opposite Itamar, again there is a military jeep parked at the side of the road while the soldiers sit in the shade of a bus stop.
At Beit Furiq there isn't even one vehicle and the roadblock appears to be completely open. We only saw one soldier in the watch tower who looked at us.
We returned in the direction of Huwwara and continued on Road 60 via Kdumim Junction and there, too, we saw a military jeep parked at the junction. Later, at one of the entrances to Jit, a column of soldiers marched out of the village and at Karnei Shomron there were two female soldiers standing and observing the road. We continued on Road 55 and at the exit from Ponduk we came across a snap roadblock. Four vehicles were parked at the side of the road and a number of soldiers collected documents and checked them on their radio devices. One of the soldiers sits in the vehicle and records all the names of the ID card holders. One of the detained taxi drivers tells us that he has already been waiting for a quarter of an hour but, after a few minutes, he is released. During the time we were there 3 - 4 vehicles were detained for between 5 - 10 minutes.
On Road 55 the eastern entrance to Azun is open but here too a military jeep is parked at the side of the road. We turned to the direction of the inactive roadblock at Kalkilya and from there attempted to continue by the Ayal roadblock, however, in this direction there is a roadblock on way to Tsofim which allows only residents of the settlement to pass. We turned back and left via the Eliyahu crossing.
Chana S. translating
Soldiers in front of the entrance towards the checkpoint check that Jewish Israelis do not enter Nablus. Arabs are permitted after their ‘Arab identity’ is established by their documents. No checking at the entrance. Passage is fairly free at exit. A spot check of cars and no queues. 9.40 Za'tara/Tapuah.
There is some stopping of cars for document checking for a few minutes. Most cars pass without checking. In front of the checkpoint entrance a soldier directs cars to different lanes while in one lane there is no checking or soldier. One car is sent to the parking lot for checking by dog and its handler. 10.00 Zeita.
The entrance is blocked, as usual. Has the army forgotten this place and left it blocked by mistake?
There seems no point to this obstacle, while opposite all is open.
Translation: Bracha B.A.
"We used to be free."
06:55 – Reihan Barta'a Checkpoint
The dogs are barking. Two vans are waiting to cross to the West Bank. At 07:00 the announcement comes that the checkpoint is open.
07:10 – Today as well Walid and his brother are among the first to cross on their way to work in Barta'a.
The southward entrance gate is closed. Possibly there is a malfunction because a van and its passengers are waiting to pass through the opposite gate that leads to the facility in back. Or perhaps someone thought to make it easier for those going southward? .There are two inspection windows open. The hallway is not crowded, and some people tell us that it is crowded in the side rooms, and that there is a delay and others tell us that things are running smoothly.
The seamstresses that cross to East Barta'a every day tell us that there are malfunctions with the biometer (palm reader) and they are told to go to Salem. At Salem they are told that there is no problem with the palm ID and that it is working properly, and they end up wasting a work day. We hear the inspector saying "khut idak" (Open your hand) over and over again.
We phoned the Liaison and Coordination Administration and attempted to help a businessman from Barta'a who was not permitted to go through with merchandise because of some error. He was allowed to cross. We asked him what he did for a living. He said, "Why don't they let us work and live in peace and quiet? We used to be free…"
There were four vans parked in the upper parking lot.
We left at 08:05.
08:15 – Shaked – Tura Checkpoint
Before driving to the checkpoint we turned in the direction of the settlements. There is a tank standing at the entrance to the army camp and there are flags of the armored corps flying. The new buildings are large and impressive. We drove along the flag-lined road to the area of the entrance to the settlements (one kilometer). At 08:20 we arrived at the checkpoint and saw that it was empty and the gate was closed and locked. When we called the Liaison and Coordination Administration we were told that there had been explosives placed on either side of the fence and that was why the gate was closed. So where are the soldiers?
"They'll be there in another couple of hours."
So why isn't there a notice on the gate?
"Whoever needs to know knows already," replied the Humanitarian hotline. "Security reasons."
Can you give us details?
"That's what we were told. Security reasons."
We went into the neighboring village of Dir el Malak to see if "whoever needs to know knows." We met two young people who said that maybe the Mukhtar (the mayor of the village) knows.
We stopped to talk with four men in a far on their way to the Reihan Checkpoint. They knew since the previous night (April 23rd) the gate had been closed at 06:00 the previous evening instead of at 07:00 and they had waited behind the gate until 10:00 at night.
There were a lot of people including families with children, and when the crowd increased in front of the gate and they asked until when it would be closed a soldier had said, "Everyone has to be out of here in a half hour or I'll shoot. Get out." "We were on our way home," explained the man, "So where were we supposed to go?"
We left at 08:55.
Today the "Nahal" (krick - a unit in the IDF) did not stream. Delays and careful searches at Beit Furik and Huwwara.
6.50 Sha'ar Shomron from the east is wide open and no one is checking.
The entrance to Marda is open and there is nothing new at the barricade of Zeita and Jamaien,
7.15 Za'tara/Tapuach There are no queues at the checkpoint.
Burin/Yitzhar is empty.
7.35 Beit Furik.
The Nahal soldiers had put out spikes over most of the road and so only one car could pass at a time. Because we drove up to them with the car there was a traffic jam and they did not allow us to pass the checkpoint so as to turn around.
7.40 Awarta. No cars waiting and no dog trainer.
In the empty and deserted parking lot are a line of cars with the engine opened and they are surrounded by barbed wire. The soldiers say they have been there for a few days. It seems to be the police who have taken these cars off the road as they are not roadworthy. Most of them look as if they should be in a junkyard but some seem relatively new. We did not see police. We were told that a while ago the lawyer of one of the owners of a car had come past and asked to whom he could speak.
The traffic in the direction of Nablus is lively and streams through.
The dog trainer checks one car carefully, the soldiers another and all the rest wait.
Soon a line forms which stretches as far as the eye can see. Those who have initiative or are privileged bypass those waiting and get stuck at the side. After some minutes a third route is formed.
As a result of this cars entering Nablus are forced to slow down and leave the road.
Immediately a line forms in the opposite direction. A truck who driver tried to get through here and not at Awarta is forced to turn around and this causes even more delays, Afterwards the truck is stuck at the side. The line of cars already reaches the circle. For five minutes everything is at a standstill. We phone the DCO and they say they will find out what is happening.
After not too long a time the DCO representative arrives and the traffic begins to crawl. Some cars are freed and again there is a delay. The commander of the checkpoint comes and tells us that there were very strong alerts in the whole zone and they hope that everything will end soon. He said that they also had called the DCO.
8.30 It seems that the security alert has ended but the traffic situation has become more complicated. From afar we see that the three lines have got stuck and that the soldiers are trying to direct the traffic which is standing or to make a preliminary search.
The dogtrainer comes nearer and speaks to us. She asks if our sons do not oppose our activities or are scared .
8.40 The line in the direction of Nablus has melted away but those exiting are coming out in drips and drabs.
8.50 We leave the place and the line of cars waiting to leave Nablus.
Burin/Yitzhar …no military activity.
9.05 Za'tara/Tapuach. The traffic is flowing. In the parking lot a car is carefully checked.
Over the news we hear of no activity in the area of Nablus.
15:30 - 18:00
Correction to our earlier report -- most of the area of this enclave is part of Area C and only a small part of it is in Area B.
Seven villages are imprisoned by the fence: Biddu, Beit Iksa, Kubeibah, Katana, Beit Sureik, Beit Anan and Kfar Duku.
Entrance for cars: Through the Ras Biddu CP which is between Biddu and Beit Iksa which has not yet been surrounded by the wall. Beyond the cars, in addition to the internment camp of the seven villages, there is the internment camp of Al Jib to the northeast. The Al Jib internment camp is surrounded on the south by the wall that is on the border of Road 443, and on the west by the wall that borders on the Nebi Samuel - Giv'at Ze'ev road. The internment camps of Biddu and Al Jib are connected by the "Texture of life" road --- described below.
In the Al Jib internment camp there is a CP only for pedestrians. It is to the west of the camp. On the side of Givat Ze'ev this CP is near a gas station of Delek. From inside the Al Jib internment camp the Palestinians can reach Bir Nabala, to go under 443 and from there to go on to Ramallah.
All the workers with permits must come to Ramallah from these two internment camps, from there to Qalandiya, and from there to work, every day.
We entered with our car through the Ras Biddu CP. We passed Biddu, dirt roads, and we twisted to the north until the Wadi. At the gas station, they directed us to the "Texture of life" road which connects the internment camp of the seven villages (Biddu) and the internment camp of Al Jib.
I do not have the words to describe this road accurately. It is not simply a road for the Palestinians that passes under the road for the Israelis. It is a prison, a long, narrow prison in the form of an underground tunnel. In it cars travel very close to the two sides of the road, the eight meter high wall that we know well. Above this wall, there is a metal fence. This prison is long. You travel in the sections of the tunnel, reach areas in which there are square openings above, all fenced in; through them daylight enters the tunnel. Then you are swallowed again into the next section of the prison of a road. This prison passes under the Nebi Samuel-Givat Ze'ev road, and under a great many plots of land that touch on the above road from west to east.
When Israelis travel on the road above, it is impossible to imagine what was built
The minute you get to the internment camp of the villages, you are totally imprisoned within it.
The road, "Texture of life", makes mobility possible from village to village or between the internment camps. It is impossible to go out into Israeli territory. Palestinians can leave the two internment camps without
permits, but only to go to Ramallah.
We went on to Al Jib and we found ourselves in a CP that opens out to Giv'at Ze'ev; for pedestrians. This CP serves the workers who work in New Giv'on. From Al Jib it is possible to get to Ramallah, a distance of 15 kilometers, but that is for the next report. Since we wanted to return to Israeli territory, we had no alternative but to twist again up the ascent to Biddu and from there to come out through Ras Bidu, Beit Iksa, and the Ramot CP.
This trip in the internment camp of the villages and on the 'Texture of life" road was a chilling experience.
It is worth our while to include this CP in our observations.
16:37 - Four young men are already detained by the soldiers (they were apparently caught in an attempt to enter Jerusalem without permits). Their knapsacks are being inspected. They are kept at a distance from one another. They are not allowed to talk to one another. They are waiting. Near us, two workers from the civil administration are also waiting. They are hoping that there will be some easing of the rules so that they will be able to go through the CP at Ramot to their homes in Anata. Telephone calls do not help. They are forced to go from Ramot to Qalandiya, through the enclaves that we defined above, and from there to Anata. They explain to us --- through the Ramot CP people enter Jerusalem only those with blue ID cards (Israeli IDs). All the rest -- cars and people can travel and come into Israel only through Qalandiya.
17:00 We go on to Nebi Samuel. At the exit from Nebi Samuel, we see a police car parked, it detained a car with a yellow licence plate that emerged from Nebi Samuel. At the Al Jib CP only for pedestrians, on the side of Givat Ze'ev, we saw a black dog belonging to the army running around in the compound.
17:20 -- Ramot CP again.
In addition to the four detainees, there is now one more young man. The soldiers demanded that we get out of the area of their CP. They forbade us to take pictures. They were convinced after we showed them a permit to take
pictures from "B'Tselem".
Workers are returning on foot from Ramot in the direction of Beit Iksa and the Ras Biddu CP. They are inspected today by the soldiers at the CP. This does not happen every day.
17:35 -- The five detainees are put into a Transit of the Border Patrol. They wait.
We leave. The five are still waiting in the Transit.
Translated by D. kalekin
Bardala - Near the entrance to the village, we meet a resident of Bardala and ask him about the water supply. The man tells us that there is drinking water but no water for agriculture. The reason: a debt to 'Mekorot' (that is what we understood).
Military tents and many soldiers are spread over the area that leads to the Tyasir CP and jeeps are going in every direction.
Tyasir CP 1250
Near the tower a bulldozer and a tractor are working; they are cleaning and smoothing the ground. A small number of cars are going through in both directions.
1329 - 30 Childrn return from school. They go in at a run, go through quickly and all of them get on to the ride that distributes them among the tents that are on the way.
When we arrive at Hamra, two soldiers approach us and ask what we are doing there. They ask for the page on which we are wriiting the report. From a distance, a woman soldier, a dog-handler, yells at them: You're not supposed to talk to them; there's nothing to say to them ... let them stand there like ..... We couldn't here 'like' what.
The soldiers return to the CP and allow the cars that have assembled to go through in both directions. One soldier also came over to find out about what we are doing and to get an explanation of why we are doing what we do. We did not have a chance to answer him and the same dog-handler screeched: Come over here!!!! Come over here!!!! The soldier ran up to her and she explained to him with her hands and with her whole body that it is forbidden to talk to us. We didn't hear it all, but he heard a fiery speech.
1430 The passage has become much slower, and a soldier (the one who wanted to talk to us) is in charge of letting the people through and he does this slowly. He asks those going through on foot to take off their head--covering (kefiyah), to raise their shirts and to turn around. From time to time, he yells: one by one (in Arabic). He asks one of the people going through to take out everything he has in his backpack.
1440 -- Because everything is so slow, 16 cars are lined up from the west and also from the other side. The soldier gets reinforcement and an additional soldier lets the people through faster.
1515 - All of them have gone through.
Translation: Bracha B.A.
It is dry and cloudy; the yellow of dry vegetation has already replaced the green.
13:00 – We were late for the meeting with the school children. We met them at the junction going west, in the direction of Hama el Malich. On the way to Tayasir there is a sign that reads, "The Netzach Yehuda Battalion."
13:15 – Tayasir Checkpoint
The roadblock is still in place across the road from the west. A soldier asks if we are OK. A red sign on the water tank that says "There's no one here but us" We take our places next to some bored soldiers who are waiting for their lunch. There is little traffic. Trucks pass loaded with hay and a mobile clinic from the Red Cross/Crescent and a few taxis pass by.
13:55 – We left. Throughout the time that we were there we heard shooting, possibly target practice since the area on both sides of the road is designated as an “firing area”.
14:05 – About ten soldiers are standing next to the entrance to the "Netzach Yehuda" Battalion. A jeep from the Liaison and Coordination Administration drives west in the direction of the Tayasir Checkpoint. The road to Hamra is empty. The Guchia checkpoint is closed. The sight of the earth embankments against the lovely landscape brings back the feeling of anger that we know so well.
14:20 – The soldiers have been at it since 5:00 in the morning and are tired out.
The road sign in the direction of Tubas as well as the dirty flag from the Haruv Patrol are lying on the ground. The bulldozer that erected the earth embankment is still parked next to the watchtower. Work is still being done on the road west of the checkpoint. The car with the mobile unit for checking bags still stands at the side of the road. Later a car from the Liaison and Coordination Administration will arrive and they will tell us that the unit is broken. They will also tell us that this is not a good time to come since the shifts are changing and the soldiers who have been on duty since 05:00 are tired and not working as quickly as they usually do. In the morning 4,000 passed through quickly in both directions. They have orders to let everyone through quickly - especially the teachers - despite the work being done on the road.
There is a line of 5-6 cars from the east and occasionally taxis arrive from the west. The passengers approach the turnstile and come out holding their belts. The dog handler under the shed prepares her black dog for guard duty, puts a vest on his back and leaves for the guard position. Occasionally she announces that she is about to check a car but doesn't check anyone.
15:55 – Six soldiers are standing and listening to one of the people from the Liaison and Coordination Administration. Occasionally cars drive by but are not checked. An ambulance with a flashing light stops for a few seconds and then drives on. People emerge quickly from being checked and are threading their belts back into their pants. The dog handler lets the dog check a taxi whose passengers have been checked. The passengers gaze at their belonging s on the side of the road and express their anger at their belongings and the taxi that have been contaminated by the dog.
An armored military vehicle arrives and drives up to the area. One of the soldiers talks with the others and then comes up to us. He is armed from head to foot: weapon, flak vest, and microphone. HE seems angry. Perhaps he was told by the dog handler that we photographed her. He tells us that this is a sterile area, is dangerous, and that we have to leave…The shed is not being used by anyone except for keeping the dog and equipment. The lieutenant insists, saying that we cannot stand there and threatens to call the police. The other soldiers and the representative from the Liaison and Coordination Administration attempt to calm him down, and we tell him that we always stand here.
We left at 15:30.
The gate east of the entrance to the settlement of Roi was open. The gate is used by the Hadidya family since their road was blocked. North of the settlement we stopped next to a young man riding a donkey to give him some useful items that we had. He also knows Dafna.
“Are you Daphna?” we are asked by a Palestinian passing through Tayasir Checkpoint.
15:20 – soldiers still have not arrived. There is an observation point, and they apparently saw that there is no demand for their services at this hour. We also left.
The virgin hill landscape accompany us to Hamra – spectacular. As we reach the hothouses and the verdant settlements facing the poor and sad looking Bedouin encampments – the landscape beauty is no longer soul satisfying. Again we encounter annoying acts of man – earthen mounds to prevent passage.
15:40 Hamra Checkpoint
A woman soldier comes over and warns us not to photograph (“forbidden”) and says that she is from the Sting Unit. A soldier comes over and takes her away from us.
Afternoon – shift change. Coming and going, and meanwhile, till the ceremony and exchanges of greetings are over, nine cars wait in the blistering Jordan Valley heat to travel eastward. Quietly.
16:00 – most of the cars have passed by now. Transit of vehicles is in both directions simultaneously. From the west (the West Bank) families with small children, Bedouin, some of them from villages around Jiftlik and others from Yatta and down to Hebron. At Jiftlik there are 450 huts and lean-tos. Recently the army has destroyed some on the contention that Bedouin have moved in who are not “locals” (not locals?). Alongside the road taxis wait for passengers who are undergoing checks at the checkpoint, or for random passengers. They fill up and go. We chat with the drivers and get the impression that it is preferable to keep conversations with us short. No complaints. Preferable only to say good things. And so “today the soldiers are okay,” and somebody adds: “when you are here everything is okay.” We learn that the trip to Yatta takes two and a half hours. En route they encounter an IDF checkpoint and two Palestinian Authority checkpoints. This holds them up. Some of the villages are linked to the electric grid, but only for a few hours a day. As much as we saw, the check of pedestrians takes a short time.
16:55 Tayasir Checkpoint
17:15 – on our way home we stop by signs put up by European Union missions who are setting up infrastructure for the locals, like hothouses, etc. and two beautiful Bedouin girls stop next to us to ask for a donation. We don’t have. No matter, they say, next time...