'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Sun 25.11.07, Afternoon
“Set up for Annapolis” -- two days before the start of the latest Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland -- is what today’s shift, should be called. Tangible benefits for Palestinians? We’ve yet to see them delivered. Making life more tolerable for Palestinians on the ground? On the contrary. One community under collective punishment and curfew for the last six days. And yet another under-16 year old found, at a checkpoint, with not one, but two explosive devices!
No police car on duty at the entry point to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
A line of five vehicles way down, far from the checkpoint, thorough checking but not of IDs, by these reservists. Only three are visible. One, we are told, was attacked by a wild dog a couple of hours earlier. The commander seems not to have heard of MachsomWatch, but his questions smack of cynicism as he demands to know why we don’t offer coffee or cookies. Unusually, at this checkpoint, a large Israeli truck, bearing well hidden building materials, allowed to pass without scrutiny.
IDs of all young men in a taxi from Tulkarm are checked, the taxi has to pull aside to wait, but the handing of IDs to the soldier in the control tower, his phone call and the return of the IDs to the commander is quick and efficient. Everything done as it should be.
Traffic flows freely in both directions. Checking by the “random reservists” is just that. Sometimes cars are checked, sometimes not. In the space of five minutes there are either 5 or 7 in line from Tulkarm. Trucks entering Tulkarm may be asked “What do you have behind there?” Lunch arrives, and the soldiers partake of it while continuing their job.
On the way to Qalqiliya:
The light, bright pink house – the newest hilltop settlement near Kedumim -- stands arrogantly and peacefully above the roadway, the wires (telephone, etc.) hung with orange ribbons.
A couple of kilometers further west, just outside Funduk, a police car is stopping all traffic. “They are throwing stones” we are told (and we make an assumption, which could, as we learn, be incorrect, as to who “they” are). Behind us a couple of settler cars also turn around, but a few cars make their way from Funduk. We decide to call our friend from this village, and we hear the whole story: six days of curfew, his factory ruined, houses broken into, windows broken. Settlers from Shavei Shomron and from Kedumim entered Funduk together with the army!
We never get to Qalqiliya.