Givat Zeev, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Sun 17.10.10, Afternoon
The entrance to the checkpoint was full of dirt and neglect.
As costume in every terminal, "music" was playing in this one as well. It illustrated what was written on the shining sign welcoming those arriving and reads "Have a Nice Stay". Loud and grating voices came out of the speakers, they were incoherent, a mixture of Arabic and Hebrew, like a new language that neither those who spoke Hebrew nor the Arab speakers could make out.
At the everlasting traffic jam at the entrance to the checkpoint a new peddler boy was running about between the cars. It seems as though the minute a child like him learns to stand on his feet and just before he can stand for himself, he is sent to endanger his life on the busy and filthy road, so as to make a living for his family.
El Jib checkpoint:
A slow stream of people returning from a day's work.
The checkpoint wasn't designed to regulate the passage from or into the State of Israel. Its very essence is to protect the wellbeing of the settlers of "Givat Ze'ev" and "Givon Ha'Hadasha", so that those building or reconstructing the settlements, those who are the historic owners of the land on which they are located, could pass there for the purpose of work alone. Only the Palestinian men and women whose names appear on the list, "the clean ones" according to the GSS, pass through those fences and gates- about three thousand each morning pass there, and then head back to their homes/prisons when evening falls.
"Each morning I arrive here at 5:00 and I never pass before 7:00"- said Maher, a resident of Old Beit Hanina (on the Palestinian side of the wall), as we drank our coffee with him at the improvised diner. As his sipped from his cup he told us that his brother, who is married to a woman with a blue ID from New Beit Hanina, isn't permitted to leave his house, he can't step outside without a special permit which is granted only for medical purposes and is valid for only a couple of days. This brother hasn't seen his parents or Maher ever since the construction of the wall had been completed, closing all the Palestinian towns surrounding east Jerusalem and turning them into enclaves.
During the first half hour of our stay the soldiers communicated with us through the PA system. The speaker ejected noises. Mostly bits of words. Very few actual words. They referred to us in second person singular: "You! Don't stand there!... You, ruhi!.. Photos are forbidden!..." and then they went on with: "Hayyyyyyy... Hooooo...", and after that they began to whistle and drum with their hands in rhythm. When we didn't abide we heard the person speaking saying: "What can I do? - they won't listen to me..." and when that didn't work they turned the siren.
Towards sun down one of them found the courage to step outside and approach us in the area enclosed by the checkpoint fence- he was a security guard from a privet firm and was escorted by two soldiers who bore on their backs a print of a serial number (what for?).
The security man ordered us to stop taking photos, to refrain from approaching the fence and also: stay away from the red (?) zone. He carried on and made what can be regarded as childish threats: "I'll call the Bp and you'll be taken under custody..."and: "a police man will come and arrest the two of you..."
They wouldn't allow us to pass through the checkpoint and head home. "You don't appear on the list" said a BP officer as he waved some folio papers before us.
The soldiers at the checkpoint no longer try to send us away, but to have a chat with us. During the days that had passed since our last encounter, the soldiers had accumulated some questions, and once we parked our car some of them hurried towards us saying: "I have a question..."- they asked and talked and tried to understand. They also requested and received the card of the organization with the internet site: "To read what is written about us..."
During our conversation the soldier who had stayed to guard the area closed the checkpoint before the vehicles for a short while. His friends explained: "regulation: breaking the routine"