Beit Iba, Wed 24.10.07, Afternoon
The conduct of the army spokesman is the centre of our shift.
A German television crew, ZDF, accompanied us. The producer, Alon, is also the person who connects them with the army and with us.
They were offered a survey of the checkpoints but preferred to go out with us so as to see us in action. Tammie suggested to Alon that he get permission from the army spokesperson ahead of time and this he did.
When we got to Anabta (before Beit Iba) we were already informed that there was no permission to film. Tammie phoned the spokeswoman of the Ephraim area, Semadar and asked her to find out why the permission had not been received and Semadar checked and said that there was no permission.
We went on to Beit Iba and Alon again phoned the army spokesperson and asked him to inform the commander of Beit Iba directly that we had permission and went on thinking that at least there we would be able to. When we got there the filming started and immediately the commander came up to us, a sergeant and said that it was a closed army area and that we were forbidden to be there. One of the team, an Israeli Bedouin, told the commander that without a written order he had no right to stop us standing there. The commander without any hesitation said that there was no need for such an order as he, the commander, could make the decision. We argued and he realised that he would not yield to his dictates. But as far as filming went he himself blocked the photographer. He then phoned his commanders and we phoned the various spokespeople of the army. Nothing helped and we could not get permission.
What we could or could not film was done from afar. We went in great disappointment to drink coffee. In the meantime darkness fell and then the permission came from the army spokesperson to film. Obviously it was too late.
1. The checkpoint was empty and the soldiers had dispersed. 2. Darkness.
We grinned at one another. The Germans said they were glad to see how our enlightened army acted. The photographer said that the little he had been able to film told the whole story. The way that people were crowded in the "cage" behind the turnstiles which he had managed to photograph and the hand of the commander not allowing him to film.
We leave the reader with a few questions.
1. Is the army in such a mess that orders from above to not reach the field?
2. Did the orders not reach the field on purpose?
3. Has the army managed to show itself in a favourable light to the German crew and for so to the viewers who will see these film throughout Europe?
An interesting addition. The following notices were seen at all the checkpoints which we passed and these were filmed:
The area in front of you is a Palestinian area (the letter A is deleted). No entrance to Israelis – entrance to this area is a transgression of the law.
1. If this area is under Palestinian rule what is the army doing there? And why if the area is under Palestinian jurisdiction do the inhabitants have to pass an Israeli army and to show their ids.
2. Why is the letter A deleted? If this area is under Palestinian rule this letter A should be shown in all its glory. And if the area is under Israeli rule why is it written that it is under Palestinian rule.
Answer: The army is trying by deceit and by slyness to bring about a ban on Israelis being in the area which is under Israeli rule although by law they are allowed there. The intention and the way to keep Israelis such as we are away is pathetic and makes mockery of the army. The ridiculous thing is that no one takes any notice of these signs and what is written or deleted. Everyone knows that there is no legality to this but the army tries.
This too the German television filmed.