'Anabta, Deir Sharaf, Qalqiliya, Mon 22.6.09, Morning
Translation: Bracha B.A.
Workers are going through the checkpoint at Qalqilya very slowly because the inspectors are apathetic and mainly because they are trying to save money by not allotting another computer. The workers are waiting for over an hour. There is a surge of construction and paving new roads at the Anabta Checkpoint and Shavei Shomron – a sign that there is a good economic situation in the Ministry of Defense.
Traffic is moving quickly through the Dir Sharaf and Anabta checkpoints. Yesterday afternoon there was a terrible traffic jam at Anabta.
Qalqilya (Eliyahu) Crossing: 6:40-7:20
About 40 people are waiting in the small fenced-in area that was built for crossing the fence north of the crossing. From there the corridor, also fenced in, leads to the turnstile and from there to a small building where inspections are carried out.
Workers go through here who work at the Alfei Menasheh settlement (between 250-350 men and women) and people who own land in the area between the separation barrier and the green line who have permits for the “seamline zone.”
Inspections begin at 5:00 AM, but people arrive here from 4:00 to get a place in line. They are very well-organized – one person writes the names of everyone who arrives in a notebook and they get in line in that same order. When the turn comes for the person who wrote the names down, someone else takes over and takes the notebook. Today there are 250 people listed in the notebook, but women and elderly people do not have to wait in line. Women usually work as housekeepers in the settlements.
People complain about the slow rate at which they are checked because of the apathetic inspectors (military police). When an officer arrives the checks go much more quickly. During the first few minutes that we were observing no one went in, but they soon began to let people in quickly: perhaps because they saw we were there. The checks include checking documents on the computer (there is only one computer( and X-ray of people’s bags of food.
During a period of about two hours between 5:00 and 7:00 about 250 people passed through: about a half minute per person. We spoke with S., (Shlomit), who is responsible for the staff at the checkpoint. It appears to her that the rate people go through is reasonable. She also does not want to encourage the soldiers to check quickly. She wants inspections to be thorough, and it does not appear that she is taking the suffering of the Palestinians at the crossing into consideration.
At one point I spoke with an officer from the brigade who is responsible for the checkpoints, and explained that another computer would allow people to be checked twice as quickly. There is no money for that. (How much does it cost to pave the third road to the settlement of Shavei Shomron?) It appears that the army has lots of money, but it is not willing to spend a penny for the welfare of the Palestinians, only for settlers.
An elderly man and women enter without waiting in line. They are going to work in their citrus grove in the seamline zone. Their donkey and wagon are waiting for them at the checkpoint ("They treat the donkey better than they treat people”). There are no complaints about the soldiers’ behavior, in light of what we read in previous reports.
The men all work in construction (in a settlement in which the construction was supposed to be stopped) and earn from 120-250 NIS each day according to their professional skill. They have no idea if the owner deducts anything from their salary or to which bodies the money goes. We read that they have income tax, national insurance, and social welfare deducted. They have no rights, and whoever is sick simply misses out on the day’s salary and they can be dismissed from one day to the next without compensation.
The former outpost of Shavot Ami – The building appears empty. The signs have also been taken down. On the opposite hill there are two makeshift tents and people are walking around (Who is paying them? Probably all of us).
Dir Sharaf (7:45-7:50
9 cars are going in the direction of Nablus. The first is a truck, which is being checked. After a minute it leaves, and traffic moves. There is no soldier at the guardpost. IN the other direction cars go through without being checked. A car with a yellow license plate is sent back.
On the way we see the new access road (the third one) to the small settlement of Shavei Shomron that is still being paved.
Traffic flows all the time. It appears that the drivers are still celebrating the change (like the story of removing the goat from the overcrowded house.) They are honking their horns and waving to us happily. Niva asks why there was any need for the inconvenience at Beit Iba.
Anabta (Einav) (8:00-8:30)
Mahmoud from the “Shabik” organization, which picks up bags of clothing for poor people in Tulkarem, tells us that yesterday at 14:00 there was a terribly long line, reaching almost as far as the entrance to Ramin. He needed to get to Nablus and preferred to take a long detour and get to Road 60 from Jenin.
The checkpoint has been moved closer to the junction because they are building an elaborate checkpoint at the original location with modern architecture similar to the Beit Iba checkpoint (that was closed less than a year after it was built). From a distance it appears that a new watchtower has been built in addition to the military police booths about 10 meters from the previous tower. There is no shortage of money in the Ministry of Security.
There are no lines and people go through quickly. It’s impossible to detain cars because there is nowhere for them to stand. There is one lane for cars going in each direction.
It looks as though the political leanings of the reservists influences their function. A non-religious soldier lets cars through quickly, while a soldier wearing a kippah, who takes his place, stands with his weapon aimed at approaching cars. He detains a car at the entrance to Tulkarem (where no care have been detained for a long time) and checks the contents of the car: two pedestrians are asked why they are walking.