Ar-Ras, Irtah, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Wed 31.10.07, Morning
Checkpoints of Tulkarm and Qalqiliya
1. Problems in the function of the facility at Irtach in the afternoon and on Sunday mornings. There is now only one sleeve and not two.
2, No passage for children between 13-16 at the agricultural gate of Jubara even when they come with their parents and with our intervention they are allowing them through until the end of the olive harvest.
3. At Anabta a friendly attitude towards us and a desire to cooperate.
Passage at Irtach ( passage of workers to Israel) – 7.00.
Many Palestinian workers and Israeli contractors wait at the parking lot. They say today everything worked out. The facility opened at 4.30 even though it would be even better if it opened at 4.00. The length of the check was satisfactory.
There are three problems with this facility.
1. On Sunday mornings there are many workers. Twice the number on any other day and even so there is only one sleeve functioning. This leads to tremendous pressure and the period of the checking is very long which leads to anger. When the facility was opened there were two sleeves. This detail was supposed to appear in the agreement with the contractor. So either the details of the contract were changed by the Ministry of Defence so as to save money at the expense of the workers or the contractor has gone according to his way of doing things also at the expense of the workers.
One has to remember that after this check the workers still have to wait for their contractors to take them to their place of work and this with all the traffic jams and only the physical work begins, agricultural and building. And then they have to do this all in the opposite direction. And then the traffic jams have to be taken into consideration. The workers are not young as permits are only given to those over 35.
2. These same workers return exhausted at about 17.00 and then until the facility closes at 18.30 there is great pressure and only one sleeve.
3. When the facility closes there are those who have not managed to get there in time and they have a problem getting back into the occupied area.
The passage on the border of Jubara (Shaar Ephraim). 7.20
Each day there is a police vehicle. We saw no detainees.
Checkpoint A-Ras. (chava 8).
Not.much movement. A bus from Tulkarm was superficially checked, the soldier looked in the window and allowed it to pass but a taxi was detained and all the passengers had to alight. Who says who and when? Did our presence have anything to do with this.
The checkpoint at Jubara 753. 7.30-8.00
Heavy traffic maybe because of the olive harvest. 3 donkey carts waiting to enter the village and a car with a family and 10 pedestrians. On the other side 4 cars and all these passed within half an hour. The checking was very thorough and everything was opened. Everyone entering the village was noted in an exercise book. The commander, a sergeant says this is to checked that those passing come back on the same day according to the conditions of the permit and not stay in Israeli. It is clear to all that this is a border crossing. . From Jubara there is an open road to Israeli Taiba and this in keeping with the stealing of Palestinian lands by way of the wall which has put the village on the western side of the West Bank.
A cart with a man, woman and girl their daughter is detained. The commander says the girl has no ID. She is only 12 and the ID is only needed at age 16. After a phone call she is allowed to pass because up to the age of 12 children can go though. But another family says that their son of 13 is not allowed to pass. One has to remember that the olive harvest needs the help of these children. At every other checkpoint children under 16 are allowed to pass. Why not here? We told Tammie C. of this and the very same day she received a promise that until the end of the olive harvest families with children would be allowed to pass without limitation. It is important that the shifts should arrive at 753 and inform the families of this as it seems that children between 13-16 are not allowed through.
Anabta. Einav. 8.10 – 8.30
!6 cars in line and even though the check was swift the line did not decrease. Most of the cars passed without being checked. Sometimes an ID was checked with the help of the laptop. Most waited about 9 minutes. Those entering Tulkarm were not checked. While we were there the shift was changed and this usually leads to an interval in the checking but this time the commander, a sergeant took over and the movement was continuous. Both the commander who was ending his shift and the commander who was beginning his came to us and asked if we had any complaints about the handling of the checkpoint.
Qalqiliya. 11.00 – 11.20 (on the way back from Beit Iba).
On our arrival we parked in the lot which was full of Israeli and Palestinian cars. Because Israeli cars cannot enter Palestinians are willing to take them in for 5 shekel. The drivers complained about the slowness of the checking at the entrance to the city and they soldiers are apathetic about the long lines which form.
There are two checking posts to those entering and exiting. Only about 3 were waiting to exit but 15 were waiting to enter. 3 military policepersons were checking but only the cars with Israeli licenses of which there were few. The long line was caused by the female commander who took her time giving a hand signal for the driver to come forward. The three were busy with their own conversation and evidently it was hard to do two things at once. But it seems that our presence did hurry things up a bit and when we left there were only 8 cars.
When an Israeli car arrived an exercise book was pulled out in which the cars which are allowed in were registered.