“The banality of a tale foretold”
A checkpoint, no matter how minor, even if it operates “acceptably,” demonstrates to those who visit it from time to time how deeply rooted is the link between the state as an arm of the military and the self-evident ideological power of the concept of “Judea and Samaria.” And what was said openly at the memorial to Meir Kahana, emphasized by the settlers’ leaders – “The problem isn’t the Arabs. The problem is the leftists, the accursed leftists” http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=1156487– and by Noam Federman, who receives an enthusiastic response, reflects what MachsomWatch activists actually experience (which pales, however, compared to the threats against the President of Israel and judges…). As if the police had no crimes to investigate, no traffic to direct, no citizens to protect on the streets…because how otherwise can you explain the fact that not long after we reached the checkpoint and leaned against the shed where people wait a police car arrived and drove into the area between the fences and the gates. A soldier at the emplacement adjacent to the exit gate from Habla made an indeterminate motion in our direction, the police car came back, passed us and stopped. A short delay and the policeman approached us and asked for IDs. We presented them, and as he recorded our names and ID numbers he half explained, half warned that the GOC (General officer commanding) has defined this as a military area, that we’re permitted to stand where we did, and despite the fact that we carried no photographic equipment he wanted to ensure we knew that photography was forbidden. “And how is the checkpoint operating? Is it OK?” he asked, and we asked what was going on and he said it’s a routine activity, that within 50 meters of the checkpoint they’re allowed to search people, to demand they identify themselves. Assuming we’d stood 100 meters away we wouldn’t have had the benefit of this experience. Then he left.
Regarding Palestinians with permits to exit and enter through this checkpoint: It’s open from 06:00 to 07:30 in the morning. From the time we arrived at 06:20 people crossed quickly, with no line at the entry gate to the checkpoint. At approximately 06:50 the carts and vehicles exited from Habla, at 07:18 the school bus entered and at 07:20 the teachers’ bus exited, not before it had been inspected by a female soldier who entered the door and peeked inside. This is the first time we’ve seen soldiers at this checkpoint “unemployed” and waiting until closing time. We left at 07:25.