'Anabta, 'Azzun, Deir Sharaf, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Ras 'Atiya, Sun 8.11.09, Afternoon
"Occupation doldrums" should be the title of today's shift. There's a
kind of inertia in the air, not a blade of grass seeming to stir in the
hills of the OPT, mirrored by the becalmed, still Mediterranean, the
sight of which is always a relief after the harshness of Occupation.
12:10 Habla Agricultural Gate
Two jeeps of six soldiers; the gate is still open as a small truck,
bearing a large group of young papaya trees, impresses the soldiers
stationed here. A young Palestinian man, who looks old enough to have
his own ID, card can't cross the Seam Line: "What can I do"? he asks us
without expecting an answer. "I need my father!"
Near Alfe Menashe
Not a truck, not a workman in sight by the new Separation Wall, and
little work has been done since our last visit a week ago either here
or at what we assume will be the new checkpoint kilometers away from
its present location on the Seam Line.
Soldiers here, checking cars and people coming out of the village
against a list, tell us there's no way to cross over to the other side
of the Seam Line, "it's Area A" (really)? As for the newly being built
Separation Wall, the commander asks if we know the Wall in Jerusalem:"
It's to save us from shots" (really)? Small children, unaware of this
farcical conversation, pass us as they make their way homewards after
school, crossing the Seam Line checkpoint, without being bothered. We
wonder what will happen to them once this checkpoint is closed and the
new one, kilometers away from their schools and homes, is in operation?
Qalqiliya - no checkpoint today
Azzun - no earth mound today
All along Route 55 little traffic, as if the world has taken a holiday,
or as if the Occupation has become tired or bored: not a single Hummer
or jeep or Safari to be seen until we reach Jubara.
Qedumim - But here settlement building, of course, continues
apace. A vast new yellow crane is working on the south side of the
Deir Sharaf - The soldiers sit under their awning, a coffee or card
table in front of them. They are busy shooting the breeze, doing
nothing to check the vehicles, Israeli (yellow license plates) or
Palestinian that pass the checkpoint in either direction.
Anabta - very little traffic which moves freely
Jubara - The soldiers seem not to know what to do with us. They
don't know MachsomWatch. Say we should wait until they find out if we
can go through the gate up to the village and on to Gate 753. We wait
and wait. We usually don't mention this, but two of the four soldiers
wear kipot. We see them making phone calls. Nothing happens. Fifteen
minutes later, a Safari, bearing a new shift appears. It's obvious, we
are not going to get up to Gate 753 today.
Last, but not least, a non army truck appears, from the Israel proper
side of the checkpoint, stops on the south side of the Jubara
checkpoint, and from it descend one male soldier, the driver and three
female soldiers. The dog, visible inside, stays put, but the four
soldiers "get dressed," by donning their flak vests. They are now ready
to drive onwards into the heart of an area that is teeming with