Tulkarem and Qalqiliya, Mon 22.10.07, Morning
At the request of our guest, who is working on a piece about the privatized checkpoints, we began at Irtah, but got there late because of transportation problems.
All the laborers have already gone through, and we observed and conversed with families of inmates who were on their way to visit their relatives. According to the reports of the drivers and the few laborers who were still waiting for their employers, the checkpoint opened today at 4:30 and laborers started to get through at around 5:15, and that's good. But the complaints about long stays in the "rooms" and, thus, the delaying of other laborers and the loss of work time, remain constant.
Uriel interviewed some Palestinians and the Red Cross representative on site, who supervises inmate family visits, and then we went on to Anabta. (Because of shortage in time we skipped Ar-Ras today.)
There's a queue of 22 cars at the entrance to Anabta; it is unclear why that is, because, in effect, there's almost no inspection, and indeed, within ten minutes of our arrival the queue dissolves.
At the exit from Tulkarm there's a queue of around 15 cars. The soldiers take a break between one hand motion and the next, and so a queue is forming. Also, there's an unending stream of cars leaving Tulkarm and that's why there are around 15 cars at all times.
A family is picking olives between the road and the hill where the settlement Einav sits. Another family is picking olives near the checkpoint, and they call us over, and after mutual greetings they ask whether we could help. The families are from the village of Ramin and one brother is from Israel. They arranged with the checkpoint commander to come pick olives on their land, which stretches all the way to the settlement's fence; but when they approached the fence, some settlers came out, and threatened them and drove them away. When they went back to the checkpoint, the checkpoint commander said that he can't spare soldiers from the checkpoint to protect them. I gave them the phone number of the army hotline as a procedural step, but more to the point I consulted with Tami and with her consent established contact between them.
9:10 the taxi problem is solved and the coffee vendor walks around with the coffee pot. We leave for Beit Iba.