'Anabta, Deir Sharaf, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Jubara (Kafriat), Thu 17.12.09, Afternoon

Observers: 
Micky S., Maya Wolf (guest from California), Nadim, Amira A. Translator: Louise L
17/12/2009
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Afternoon


14.00

Za’atra – Nobody is stopped. There is a huge sign: “No entrance for Netanyahu’s freeze of construction inspectors”. 

14.30

Huwwara – We get out of Nadim’s car. It’s raining and cold. An approaching soldier speaks to us. Other soldiers shout at him telling him to stop talking with us and move us away.

Again the soldiers are shouting. A young driver is forced out of his car and 4 soldiers push him towards the edge of the passage. His eyes are covered and his hands are handcuffed. 3 soldiers push him towards the building below the tower. They enter and then they come out. A car of the border guard arrives, and now they are responsible for the detainee, who is waiting inside and does not see what is happening to him. According to the soldiers they asked for his I.D. card, but  “he started to shout and hit a soldier really hard”.

The car is moved to the side. An old man and a young woman are sitting inside.  After fifteen minutes they get out of the car telling us that they are from Marda and that everything started when the soldiers shouted in Hebrew and they did not understand what it was all about. Micky calls the District Coordination Office and with the help of our friend Hanna B. she contacts the brigade. They deny the event: “It didn’t happen at all.” We explain that we have photographs documenting everything (Maya has taken pictures, which will be sent separately), and then the line is changed: From the brigade the order to release the handcuffed man is given…this happens after we have left.  

15.15

Anabta – There are no soldiers and the traffic is flowing. An army jeep arrives, probably only to demonstrate its presence.

15.30

The Barrel Checkpoint – There are no soldiers.

15.45

Jubara – Workers who have been picking fruit are walking home carrying bags with oranges.  

15.50

Irtah – When we arrive the checkpoint is quiet. Few people are on their way home from work and nobody is stopped. The rain is getting heavier. In a few minutes the picture has changed. Because of the rain and since they have no umbrellas people are pushing to stand under the roof at the turnstile, which opens and closes alternately. I want to speak to one of the people in charge but am told to go away. Exactly at the same hour 16.10 the change of guards at Irtah begins. About 20 male and female guards are leaving the sealed terminal and entering the bus, which is waiting for them, while the new guards are arriving. Only one security position is open to the returning workers. Such bad timing. Is there any connection? It is rush hour for everybody. Of course, we call the IDF Humanitarian Center, the DCO etc., but only one security position is open during rush hour. Seeing the workers, who have been waiting at the checkpoint at dawn, who have been working hard for 9 hours and who are tired by now, hungry and wet and pushing each other – is a painful experience.  

It is important to bring the media, to photograph and to make their voices heard. 

A woman from Baka-el-Jarbia has been waiting for her husband from the territories for an hour. “It’s always like this. They send us from Jubara to Irtah, where he has to pass the checkpoint, but they make him wait for an hour or two even though he has his permit.”

I turn to a guard named Lior, and he makes sure the man is let through within a few minutes.