'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Wed 24.10.07, Afternoon
Today’s shift served as a disturbing reminder of the ubiquity of man's inhumanity to man, and what Arendt called the “banality of evil.” Today was the last day of the three day festival celebrating the end of Ramadan, Eid el Fitr, a time for joyous celebrations with families, a time of festivities and merriment, visits to the homes of friends and relatives with new clothes for everybody and gifts for the children. And the occupying forces, what knowledge or deference did they show for this, one of the two most important festivals in the Muslim calendar? When, if ever, had they been taught that everybody is of equal worth and deserves equal respect? When, if ever, had they encountered bigotry and prejudice in their own lives (forgetting, of course, their own thousands of years old history)? Instead, the occupier seemed to savor the idea that families are divided, and that family members are denied entry to join in the celebrations. If only these revelations would make “countless thousands mourn” (Robert Burns) when shown a portrait of “man’s inhumanity to man.”
The bright red sign telling us, in English, Arabic and Hebrew, that Israelis can go no further as beyond lies “Area ?” , a blank, greets us. We note, however, that a handwritten sign is propped up against one of the checking posts, in the middle of the roadway, and written, in Hebrew only, is that “Area A” is ahead…..
The vehicles, taxis, private cars and buses that want to enter Tulkarm whiz by in the gloom of the early darkness. None are checked. As usual, the line from Tulkarm stretches far into the distance, and, again, as usual, many are checked. A carload of festival revelers, on their way to Tulkarm, tell us that it’s already taken them three hours from Ramallah. Why? Because of the numerous checkpoints, because of the hardheartedness of the occupier whose only holidays and festivals are his own.
Gate 753 17:10
Here the revelers are the three soldiers who sit around idling the time away – smoking and making it clear to us that they have neither time nor interest in returning our greeting.
Such a beautiful and heartrending sight greets us here: the sun setting behind the razor wire. Here the soldiers don’t return our greeting. Instead, they initiate it (and they don’t smoke on the job)! Few passing cars, several are checked, the solider at the checking post calling in IDs, but delay is but for a couple of minutes.
Gate 753 again at 17:20
On our way back, there’s a delay. The now non–smoking soldiers hold up a truck and cause a back up of vehicles and pedestrians coming out of Jubara. It’s now dark, there are no lights until we come to the brightly lit up entry way to Israel:
Here we’ve been told, only a short while ago, before heading up to the village, that we can’t go to A-Ras, but then, the magic word, “Watch” falls from the soldier’s mouth in the form of a question, and we’re on our way.