· In Qaddum the Friday demonstration is quiet. Just a few stun grenades were fired. Palestinian TV cameramen rush off in mid-demonstration to cover another event – in Nablus.
·On our way back through Eliyahu Checkpoint, a thorough inspection takes place in search of a suspected object. An inhaler tube is placed inside the car to identify suspicious materials.
· MW members are apparently very suspect.
Getting ready for the demonstration The flag bearer
Soldiers finding shelter under trees
A child plays with grenade parts
Qaddum 12:00 People leave the mosque. At the street corner, men prepare for the weekly demonstration. A routine matter. Children skittering about, taking part in the struggle. A boy, his head wrapped in a keffiya, plays with parts of a stun grenade. Apparently the plaything fascinates him. Is he trying to figure out the operating mechanism?
The flag bearer today – I. – heads the procession. This time he bears the flag because his fellow struggler, the regular flag bearer, was hurt in a previous demonstration by an Israeli army sniper and is presently in Jordan for treatment and recovery.
The demonstration is joined by two young European women, one a journalist from Spain, the other from France. They are staying in Nablus. This is their first time attending a Qaddum demonstration. They look determined. Confident that their presence protects the protesters from snipers, although they have been told that the soldiers have no qualms about firing at internationals and journalists.
After about 15 minutes, the Palestinian TV cameramen rush off toward the mosque, where they have parked their car. Apparently they have been informed of casualties in Nablus. It is a special event and they hurry off to cover it. The demonstration here looks orphaned without the cameras.
We speak with M., a regular participant in the weekly demonstrations. Until the second intifada, he worked in Israel and knows the country inside-out. Now he has no entry permit to Israel. His wife’s family lives in Jaffa. They come for visits, but he cannot go to visit them. His dream is of two states and good neighborly relations.
The demonstration is quiet. The soldiers take shelter under the trees, from where they seem to be looking on at the demonstrators. Since this is olive harvest time, the presence today is not so impressive. Stun grenades are heard being fired, but only infrequently. There is no “skunk” today, nor pepper gas. We leave after about an hour and a half.
Eliyahu Checkpoint (Terminal) 13:30
Did we look like the enemy of the people? A diligent inspector insisted on opening our car door and then discovered our MachsomWatch flag. We were ordered to move over to the inspection area, disembark, and enter a structure with a monitoring belt for x-raying belongings. A Palestinian worker explained the procedure to us. We moved over to the exit facing the vehicle inspection area. A tube was introduced into our car, connected to a machine that identifies suspect materials. We were forced to wait even after the end of this inspection. Additional cars passed a similar check, and only after all they were done were we permitted to enter our car. We were held up nearly half an hour.