'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Sun 28.10.07, Afternoon
What is reality, in the practical, not the philosophical, sense? For those of us who travel, week in, week out, into the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it’s the state of things as they actually exist, where we pay attention to what is really going on. Our problem, in these days of “reality” television, itself a misnomer, is that our government and popular media are constantly reducing, restricting and contriving reality – manipulating the actual, controlling how people perceive reality, or how they will react -- which is easier than controlling reality. So our task is to enlarge everyone’s reality to go and take a look around to see what is out there. Which is why it’s so important to take visitors with us on our shifts?
13:50 – we take a quick glance at Shaarei Efraim, quiet at this hour, since it’s too early for workers to be returning home, the gun toting civilian guard giving us a look over as do the blue police at the entrance to Jubara.
13:55 Gate 753
The formerly named “Children’s Gate” sports a large, comfortable looking coach standing on the east side: the children are returning from school, but the two soldiers on duty there have to question the driver (who’s probably already done this run with the same kids earlier in the day), and we’re told, in the famous sign language, to wait our turn to cross. Three children wend their way along the security barrier road, as they live, literally, on the seam line.
Quiet at this hour, only three or four vehicles in line down the hill, but the soldiers on duty check everything, every truck thoroughly before letting it go southwards. As usual no checking towards Tulkarm. The sergeant commander asks our visitors why they would come to visit such a site! He gets an answer, as well as an education, returns silently to the checking post….
Here, as at Qalqiliya, the Palestinian Israeli cars are checked thoroughly -- racial profiling. The apartheid road is newly decorated with large banners, tied to the wire fences lining both sides of the road, proclaiming that youth have come to take over Samaria. Indeed!
Traffic towards Tulkarm moves at a rapid pace, so that in three minutes there is no line at all, the single soldier at the checkpoint more intent on telling his commander of our arrival than on dealing with passing vehicles. On the other hand, the line from Tulkarm already has 15 vehicles, and the soldiers seem in no hurry to beckon the first one forward.
A few minutes later, the lack of consistency manifested in this occupation is again made evident, as cars or trucks are randomly searched, the idea being, no doubt to “keep them off balance,” (the psychological effects, intended or accidental, are often so much greater than the gun toting military).An ambulance is stopped, it’s carefully gone over, peered into, and the same treatment is accorded a (Palestinian) Israeli truck.