Qalqiliya, Wed 17.3.10, Afternoon

Observers: 
Tziona S., Nura R., Hanna A. (reporting)
17/03/2010
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Afternoon

Translation: Hanna K.


Background:

Lately new decrees were imposed on the Palestinian farmers which make it difficult for them to reach their fields.

In an attempt to realize basic human rights, they wished to protest in a non violent demonstration against the new abuse.

We wished to join their protest and to arrive at the Qalqiliya CP which hasn't been manned for quite a while, although the stations, the occupation flags and the concrete barriers are still there, all ready to renew the activity of the CP any time the authorities should so wish.
The demonstration was set for 12:00 hrs.

We passed through the Eliyahu Passage and immediately after the right turn (the signboard indicates in Hebrew "to Zofin" only, as if the road didn't lead to a district town).
At 11:45 we joined a long line of cars moving in the direction of Qalqiliya. We stood and stood and stood. The passenger of one of the standing cars who came out to stretch his body, told us that in the morning there was no CP but that is had been put up about an hour ago.
The temporary CP was set up even before the turning to Zofin, and each car was delayed for a few minutes by border-policemen and policemen in blue uniforms.
As time went by there were drivers who gave up and turned back. Connection was made with Dalia G. who was in contact with the farmers, and we decided that we would reach the CP from the other direction. By way of Eyal-Zofin.
At 12:20 we returned to the Eliyahu passage and could see a queue that became longer and longer and which seemed to reach the limits of Nebi Eliyas.
At the Eliyahu passage we joined Dalia (who was with Nurit W.L., Micky f., Ruthy R., and which was later joined by Petahya. Did I forget somebody?) and Rony S. and her husband who also had stood before in the long queue in the direction of Qalqiliya.
On the road to Zofin, a bit after the Eyal passage, another CP had been set up.
The CP is manned by a reservist, border police and the blue police. We arrived there at 12:45 approximately. The reservist asked us from where we came. We said MachsomWatch.
He said we should proceed to the border policewoman, and that it wasn’t sure we would be allowed to proceed. The border policewoman Galit Biton (?) told us we couldn't proceed and that a closed military area decree has been issued. We asked to see the decree. The policewoman called another policeman German Averbuch (?) who searched in his pocket and took out a folded paper (photo attached).
We said that it was not acceptable that a road on which civilians travel should be declared as closed military area and also that the decree is not valid because, as can be seen in the photo, the closureinfo-icon is beween 14:00 and 18:00 while it is now 12:45. Moreover, in the decree it is written that it applies to "Thursday" while today it is Wednesday.
Notwithstanding all this he didn't let us proceed and said that he was going to settle the matter of the hours.
Although he said he would let us photograph the decree he delayed until he consented in the end, and demanded that we shouldn't photograph the blackened part, probably of a chart of which in any case nothing would be seen except a red line.

As the farmers decided to exchange the demonstration for a strike and a meeting with the authorities we turned back.