'Anabta, Eliyahu Crossing, Jit, Jubara (Kafriat), Wed 30.9.09, Afternoon
Translation: Bracha B.A.
1. Ras Atiya Checkpoint is being run with cruelty towards the population. The Liaison and Coordination Administration reports that the problem will be solved tomorrow at 14:00 when the soldiers leave and others will arrive. (That is the only solution…)
2. Anabta Checkpoint is still completely empty.
We drove on roads that were new to us and met new friends. It was interesting and enjoyable.
We were in telephone contact with the mayor of the village of Ras-Atiya since the morning, who asked for our help. We heard the following from Hisham, the mayor of the village:
In the morning an elderly man arrived at the checkpoint with his grandson, and the soldier pushed him. The old man's son who was on a tractor shouted at the soldier for pushing his father, and the soldier pulled him off the tractor and handcuffed him. Hisham's intervention only angered the soldier more. Hisham called the Liaison and Coordination Administration, the Red Cross, and finally the police arrived. Everyone felt that the commander should free the handcuffed man and let him go home.
However, the commander claimed that he controls everything that happens at the checkpoint and it is his sole responsibility. He decided to leave the man handcuffed. Even our call to the Liaison and Coordination Administration did not help. The information that he received from the soldiers was that the Palestinian attacked the soldier and therefore he needed to be dealt with accordingly.
The policemen arrived and ordered the commander to free the man immediately, and left. The commander was not found and did not free him.
Finally the police from the Palestinian Authority arrived and took him for interrogation and let him go. Hisham accompanied him all the way and at last took him home. The man was handcuffed early in the morning and was freed in the afternoon.
We expect a new group of soldiers tomorrow to replace the present one, which has been making the lives of the local population difficult for several weeks. The Liaison and Coordination Administration claims they will advise them how to act and that the situation will improve. We hope this will be so.
14:15 - We arrived at the Ras Atiya checkpoint late because of the journalist who had scheduled a meeting with us was late. We wanted to see the children returning from school between 1:00 and 2:00 and were late. At any rate, we met a 12-year-old boy who was with his uncle. They told us that any child over 12 has a permit and can only go to school and return home if he has it. They showed us the permit. Children under 12 are exempt from this ruling and are not checked.
We approached the soldiers who were sitting under their shelter and saw 4 Palestinians sitting on the ground, one of whom was handcuffed. They appeared calm and did not complain. It was not clear to us why they were there. On the other hand, the man who was handcuffed - according to the soldier - was being punished for breaking through the checkpoint and did not want to stop when he was asked to do so. He is a resident of Ras Atiya who wanted to go through to Ras Atiya. Apparently he had no permit and therefore tried to get through. The commander staid, “He'll sit there for three hours as usual.” We reported this to the Liaison and Coordination Administration and to the Humanitarian Center.
The commander told us to go back from where we came from. We did so because we had already finished observing the checkpoint. I asked for his name and was, of course, refused.
On our way out of the checkpoint we saw a boy standing and waiting for the hand signal from the soldier to let him pass, but the soldier ignored him. When we asked why he was not calling for the boy go through, he answered, “Don't tell me what to do!” When we continued walking, however, he called for him to go through.
15:10 - We arrived in Jitt. The olive press was open and we went in to see when they would begin selling olive oil. We were , of course, invited to join them in a meal. We refused politely. They will begin selling olive oil in another three weeks.
15:40 - We arrived in Anabta.
It was empty. Cars go back and forth without being stopped. The checkpoint looks sterile, clean, and spotless. (Photos were sent on Saturday when we saw this for the first time.)
16:00 - Jabara
After the soldier checked with his commander by phone he opened the gate and we drove to gate 753 and asked permission to go through to the place where the A-Ras checkpoint had once stood. When we got there we decided to continue on the A-Ras road and then drive home through Funduk. An army “hummer” drove up and stopped us and a good-looking soldier got out and inquired if we knew where we were going. We told him that we did. He explained to us that where we were going is very dangerous.
We answered that we know the area and have been coming here for years and don't feel any danger. He tried to argue with us, but finally relented and left and we continued on our way.
We passed by the village of Kur (the site of the familiar fortress) and continued on to Haja. Since we were out of gas and we saw a gas station there we went in and got gas. After we finished the salesman gave us three boxes of tissues - one for each of us. He said, “Anyone who buys gas here will receive a present.” Several other people came up to us to talk. One of them told us that he has a sewing factory next to the gas station and suggested that we come see it. We were curious and agreed happily. We were again treated with hospitality and were given coffee and gifts: two white shirts from the sewing factory.
Apparently the man was a resident of Qalqilya and the manager of sewing factories there and here. In addition, he also imports toys. He invited us to visit in Qalqilya. ||We exchanged telephone numbers so that we could remain in touch. We hoped to visit him. Since he has a permit to enter Israel we also invited him to visit us. We parted cordially and thus acquired another friend.
We continued on a lovely road until we arrived at Funduk. From there we drove on the familiar road home.
17:30 - Eliyahu Crossing – The line of people entering Israel is not long. We waited about 7 minutes and went through without being checked.