Translation: Ruth F.
Sha'vuot, just as any other Jewish holiday, is a reason for a closure on Palestine.
The military center: There is no entrance to Israel even not for those with permits (employment permits for instance). They may only enter if they have a special permit or a humanitarian one. At the center they wouldn't answer other questions. They referred me to the civil administration.
13:00- We headed off to Palestine.
13:30- Za'tara (Tapouah) -
Empty for those coming from the west. We counted 12 vehicles heading to Ramala. The passage was quick.
13:50- Beit Furik
The inspection of pedestrians and cars wasn't preformed at the same time at the entrance and exit for Nablus, that was why there was always a line at one of the sides. After several minutes from the time we arrived
(13:53) a young Palestinian woman was detained and taken to the issoletion cell. Her ID didn't match. "I don't give a shit who's ID it is. It might as well be my cousin's" said the checkpoint commander. We heard the checkpoint commander talking to an officer that out ranked him over the walky-talky. The officer said that if the ID was a fake then they must arrest her, but if it wasn't her ID then she must be sent back to Nablus. The checkpoint commander kept arguing with him and reminded him that "the last time this happen we did make an arrest". After a short discussion they decided to detainee her, the police were on their way.
The conversation between the soldier and her was in English. They asked her whether she was abroad during the last couple of months, they asked about her brothers and sisters. They offered her water but she refused. After half an hour her father arrived. I appeared that she was 17, it wasn't clear why she didn't have an ID with her. The ID she did have belong to her brother's wife. The father asked for forgiveness. When entered the fathers details on the computer they found her details in an instance. The soldiers told the father that he could leave, but the girl couldn't. She had to wait until the police arrived. "In the mean while she will be here, don't worry. You are dismissed" the soldiers said to him. "Binti", he replied. After twenty minutes she was released without the police arriving. "It's the last time you lie to me" said the checkpoint commander in English, before she headed on her way.
Three inspection posts for men. The belts were unbuckled, the bags opened, the IDs presented to the soldiers at the posts. There was another line for women, children and elders. Some were sent with their bags to the x-ray machine which is on the other side of the checkpoint.
Vehicles: IDs and permits were inspected at the entrance to Nablus. The passage was quick, there were no jams. At the exit from the city there was a constant traffic, the inspection was preformed in the usual way (the driver came to the checkpoint alone, the passengers made their way by foot. The car was examined, the passengers sent to the x-ray machine with their bag, and after that their IDs were checked, they were permitted to head on). These inspections took about 4 minutes for a car (not included the waiting time which we couldn't estimate).
At 15:40 a soldier entered the line to make sure those in line stood in a straight line. We heard yelling.
At the same time a minor with a birth certificate who wasn't escorted by his parents was sent back to Nablus. After 10 minutes he was allowed to pass. A young man of 25 was detained at the cell for about five minutes. The solider pulled him out with an aggressive movement and sent him back to Nablus. The brother, who was standing next to me muttered "Kusemec".
17:30- Za'aara (Tapouah)- We counted 13 cars heading to Ramala, four vehicles were coming from the west.
From 3:00 till 6:00 PM
Since it looked that because of ‘Jerusalem Day'
there would not be much to observe at the checkpoints around the capital, we
drove to Atara. The road was as pastoral as usual and the traffic
on Road 60 also looked regular. When we approached the Atara CP we could not
believe our eyes. It was 4:00 PM and there was no queue of vehicles from any of
the three sides. The soldiers at the CP also looked relaxed and didn't even
object when we parked the car near the checkpoint and didn't shout at us when we
approached them to inquire why the place was so quiet. They asked us about our
‘task' and answered our questions readily. They too didn't know why there was so
Now and then they stopped a cab and took papers.
We timed hardly four minutes before the documents were returned. We also asked
the driver of one of the cars that had stopped for a minute what had happened
and the reply only consisted of blessings re our presence and wishes for good
health. Has the Messiah arrived...? We stayed for about an hour convinced that
there was nothing to do for us.
nevertheless decided to take a look at Qalandiya and we drove via the Nusseibeh
buildings and along the wall to the CP. As expected the place looked deserted.
The mere thought of the number of days during last months when life was
disrupted and work and income prevented from the Palestinians is horrifying. And
Shavuot is still before us.........
0800 Shaked - Tura CP
Except for two people who went through from the West Bank to the seamline zone, there is no pedestrian traffic because of the closure. The reasons: The Presidents' Conference and Bush's visit to Jerusalem.
08:30 Reihan Barta'a
Three pickup trucks are inspected in the vehicle CP. Two passenger cars are waiting to enter, going from the seamline zone to the West Bank. In the parking lot a few drivers are waiting for passengers.
09:15 A police car has brought about thirty illegal sojourners who were caught in the region. As usual, a garbage truck went through from the seamline zone to the West Bank and came back empty in twenty minutes. (I wanted to mention again that there is a new sign announcing the settling of Shaked.) The continuum of closures since Passover, The Day of the Shoah, Independence Day and the visits of VIPs in Jerusalem has a disastrous effect on the Palestinians' livelihood.
10:10 We left.
At Barta'a we met a local resident who asked us to notify all of you that his wife who suffers from heart trouble, brought a letter from a doctor to the effect that she cannot go through the new x-ray machine at the Rihuf CP, but the security guards refused to inspect her in any other way.
14.25 Jamaiem-Zeita and Marda where nothing has changed and the entrance is still blocked with cement slabs and an iron gate.
At Za'tara there are 50 cars waiting to leave Nablus, private cars, taxis and trucks.
14.40 The village of Huwwara. There is a checkpoint at the entrance to the village in the direction of Nablus. One lane of the road has been blocked and 20 cars wait to leave Nablus.
Three checking posts and about 30 people in each line. The soldier in the middle is very vocal and one wonders what she is trying to prove. It seems the women are not less aggressive than the men.
Cars are checked in the usual way with the passengers alighting and the car itself checked over a long period. There is also a dog trainer for the cars and a taxi which has been checked for quite a while.
At about 15.05 the right checking post is closed and Karin says those in line wait 15-20 minutes.
A man comes through and says that he has iron in his shoes....the holes for the laces and he had to take them off.
Now at the exit from Nablus are two lines of cars which take about 10 minutes to check (each one). It seems taxis take longer than other cars to be checked.
T. of the DCO says that probably because of the closure there are less people.
15.45 Beit Furik.
8 cars in either direction and few people. The police are also here. Two policemen and their car park on top of the checkpoint and they take the car of a man with whom there may be a problem. After a few minutes he is freed.
People coming through told us that there is a taxi near the checkpoint in the direction of Nablus and there is a problem. Karin goes towards the checkpoint to check out the problem and a soldier speaking in a disgusting manner says to her "Lady get away"
When she says that there is a problem with a taxi he replies "If the commander wants to he will come to you." When he did not come we began to go towards the man with the problem and the commander towards us. When we got closer the soldiers and the commander turned to us and we explained that there was someone who wanted our help. The commander said that if we would wait he would come to us in two minutes. We showed who the man was and asked what the problem was. The commander said that the man is not from the villages in the area and therefore he knew that he could not pass here and in the meantime he said that while he spoke to us he would not open the checkpoint. We realized that there was no way that we could help the man.
Nava phoned and said that there was a mess at the checkpoint but when we got there we saw nothing. We asked people if there had been a problem and they said no. Only a few people passing today. We stood there a while and the soldiers sent the Palestinians standing near us away and also wanted to do the same with H., N'.s son who was our driver. When we said that he was with us they let him remain.
Za'tara 20 cars coming from Nablus and 13 from route 5.
כ- 20 רכבים מכיוון שכם ו-13 רכבים מכיוון כביש 5.
Translation: Devorah K.
Reihan CP 05:55 - 06:50
The CP opened at 05:30 and the first of those going through (mostly workers) are now leaving. One of the men tells us that the people emerging from inspection by the new x-ray machine are sent for an additional inspection in the side rooms, and some of them (he estimates about ten percent) are sent back to the machine. All the women tell us that they feel very uncomfortable with the machine; they are especially worried about radiation.
In the vehicle CP: They allow the passage of a person who is ill, directly from a Palestinian car to an Israeli one that takes him away for treatment.
Shaked CP -- 7:05
The CP is closed. Workers, children and cars are waiting on both sides, and children from the Isolated House are sitting inside the CP. We called the DCO and we were told that they were dealing with the delay but did not know what was happening. The army notified them: "We will get back to you." We also called the Menasheh Brigade and told them that the CP was locked. The waiting people told us that yesterday the CP was opened only at 08:30.
At 07:30 the soldiers who are posted to the CP arrive on foot. In front of the CP, on the side of the seamline zone, most of the pupils, four passenger cars with teachers, and two taxis with students are all waiting. As soon as they open the gate, and even before, they have organized the inspection room, all of them crowd into the CP compound. For the time being people are not allowed to enter from the West Bank side . That begins only at 07:40, after the inspection rooms have been readied. It takes three minutes to go through. Those going through insist that their names be listed despite the late opening; they do not want problems when they return.
Reihan CP - 08:00
Nine pickup trucks with goods are waiting. Five pickup trucks enter for inspection at 07:00 but they had not emerged at 08:35 when we left. The passenger cars are inspected as usual; it takes twenty minutes for four cars, which are inspected at the same time. There is still only a small number of people going through from Barta'a in the direction of the West Bank.
expected, there were very few people passing through the checkpoint because of
the closure. We noticed that the
woman soldier in the outside office directed people to the
we arrived there was very little traffic and so there was just one checking
point for each of the two lanes.
The younger schoolchildren had already left and there were a few high
the cars were thoroughly checked.
There were the usual number of soldiers so, because of the light traffic,
some had the time to chat with us – and one young soldier explained very
seriously how he did not mind spending the holiday this way as he was protecting
7.45 the car traffic suddenly built up at which point the officer in charge
quickly assigned soldiers to the ‘duplicate’ checking points so as to speed up
spoke to him about the usual traffic jam he said this was because it was
impossible to widen the road to make more lanes because property on either side
was privately owned.
06:30 - 11:00
Israel’s Defense Minister – dear Mr. Barak – you make empty, meaningless promises!! You spoke of easements and the removal of obstacles, earth mounds, concrete blocks – everything in order to ease life in the areas of the West Bank, and so:
In Judea up to East Halhul Junction – on Routes 317, 356, 60, 35, the Daharia - Tene road – not even a pile of earth has been removed. Obstacles, concrete blocks and iron gates have been added.
In the ups and downs between human rights and security – each obstacle that you add reduces security and augments hatred and violence. And you are personally responsible, from my viewpoint, for the fact that the GOC’s proclamation of a closed military area was activated against us in the area of the Tomb of the Patriarchs. You allow local discretion to commanders and do not apply balanced, long term and responsible policy. We make provocation – you are responsible that, despite the terrible verbal violence used against us by Itamar Ben Gvir and Ofer Ohanna, the policemen did not protect us and produced against us the "closed military area" order. You are responsible for the awful symbiosis between all the security forces in the area and the settlers. You are responsible for the violation of Palestinian human rights in this area – you are responsible for the separation policy in Hebron, the policy that always adds rights to the settlers and reduces those of the Palestinians – and this in your opinion is the correct way to fight terror, or this is the tried route to preserving terror as a factor of stability in the area!!!???
The gap between the declarations and their implementation on the ground only arouses more frustration and lack of trust. We heard today a few stories of Palestinians who are beaten regularly, particularly on festivals and occasions that are special ton the Jews and to the State of Israel.
On Independence Day, youth from Kiriat Arba are planning an Independence Parade on the Shuhada Street that is abandoned by the Palestinians – is that Independence, or is it plundering the "poor man’s lamb"? We did not come to an empty land, and it is not empty, and we were all created in the image... But when this is forgotten and the lives and dignity of Arabs are of no importance, then Zionism and Independence have beeen deprived of their moral significance, their humanitarian value.
What will be the end of us?
Sansana – closure
Tarqumiya – closure
Nazlin – closure, North Bani Naim – a new iron gate. Everywhere else – Sheep Junction (see photo below), Shuyukh, Dura al-Fawwar, Pene Hever – all as usual, no obstacles removed.
Al Jura Humanitarian Checkpoint – a Border Police jeep
On the turn to Hebron from Route 35 – a military jeep. At each concrete obstacle on the road, and there are many, it is possible to see posters from South Hebron Hills Council and other settler organisations, inviting all to celebrate Independence Day – let’s go out to the wide open spaces, that’s the slogan – 40 years of settlement in Judea and Samaria (see photo above).
At Pharmacy Checkpoint – one detainee, already a long time. Military Policewomen operation the magnometer and everyone passes through their baggage, removes their belt, takes off watches – people are used to it.
Tarpat Checkpoint – passing quickly – no policewomen.
Disputed House – no one is passing.
Next to Habad Cemetery – soldiers again entered the roof of the four storey building: we meet a few Palestinians who tell us how they were beaten at Passover, and about the puncturing of tires on the Saturday night of Passover in Abu Snan neighborhood: we gave them the phone number of Yesh Din.
Tel Rumeida – one detainee, as we arrive they give him back his ID.
Prayers’ Road – the woman who cannot directly enter her house during the days of Passover, but must go from behind, says that now there are no problems.
Tomb of the Patriarchs Checkpoints – no detainees.
On our way from Tarpat Checkpoint to the Tomb of the Patriarchs below, facing Beit Hadassah, a settler woman in a car blocks our way and will not let us pass: it does not matter to her that her roughly three year old son sits in the car and learns from his mother what violence is all about. When another settler woman comes and asks her why she doesn’t drive away, and shows her the MachsomWatch placard in our Transit, she nods her head in agreement. At that moment a police cruiser passes, and is also stuck. The settler woman hastens to move so that the police can pass. That is perhaps the reason why, when we reach the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Itamar Ben Gvir and Ofer Ohanna are already waiting for us with a camera and shouts of "traitors, collaborators, inciters to terror" and crowd us, not even letting us breathe. The police do nothing – "You want, submit a complaint" – and in any case there is a closed military area order: left wing activists cannot be here. When I insist on my rights, and don’t want to leave, saying that a closed military area can only be activated by a written document signed by the commanding general, the commander of Hebron Police comes down with the said piece of paper and shows it to us. When I ask why the area is closed militarily only to us, he says that we make provocations, the settlers are allowed to be there because this is their permanent address in their ID cards. It becomes clear that the signed military area order was left in the hands of Hebron Police after a visit by the anarchists, and the police in the station were given the authority to use it as they see fit, whenever they see fit.
We are convinced that had a bus come with Jews to pray at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the general’s order would not have been produced. We will need now considerable patience to continue maintaining regular shifts – and Itamar Ben Gvir and Ofer Ohanna with their symbiosis
with Hebron Police and the police at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, will not succeed in blocking our steps and driving us away. Our permanent presence, and not the one time visit by left wing activists, is what gives strength to the Palestinians.[L]
Translation: Devorah K.
06:00 Reihan CP (upper parking lot and upper entrance to the terminal)
The CP opened half an hour ago, at 05:30, but until now only a very few people have come out and they complain that there is a long queue in front of the new x-ray machine. The first two seamstresses come out only at 06:10. According to the testimony of those coming out there are a few stops they have to make in order to get through the passage and in front of each of these places there is a separate long queue (about 15 minutes of waiting): 1 - the main gate; 2 - the gate to the terminal, 3 - first turnstile; 4 - the machine; 5 - second turnstile; 6 - the exit post, and today two such posts are manned.
06:30 - Lower parking lot near the entrance to the CP
25 people are waiting near the gate which is closed and the queue is getting longer and longer. At the entrance to the terminal inside the CP compound, there are more people waiting and from time to time we hear shouting from inside the terminal.
Shaked CP - 7:45
The last of the farmers are going through to the seamline zone. People going to the West Bank are allowed through only after the pupils and the farmers. One taxi with students on the way to Jenin was delayed at the CP until now, and considering that there are additional CPs awaiting them they will be late to their classes today.
Translation: Yael Bassis-Student
Shaked 0730 - 0807
There is a line of vehicles and a donkey with a wagon. The line is unusually long, awaiting passage into the West Bank.
Rihan 0820 - 0915
Wallid is not around today and there is no coffee. Under the shed there are two huge piles of egg crates. There is no passage of goods today. None of the drivers can explain the terraces that are being quarried on the mountain opposite the checkpoint.