'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Mon 3.12.07, Morning
Qalqiliya checkpoint 06:35
Only cars with Israeli licence plates and an entry permit to Qalqiliya are allowed to leave the city. The encirclement of Qalqiliya is almost complete. Cars and pedestrians are not allowed to leave the city. Since the soldiers refuse to talk to us, we call the IDF Humanitarian Center to inquire about the encirclement. We want to know since when the encirclement is in effect and who the exceptions are, because we can still see that there are some. The Center refers us to the DCO [District Coordination Office of the IDF Civil Administration that handles passage permits], where we wake the soldier on duty who has no idea what we are talking about and is unable or unwilling to give any information. He says that an officer will be there in an hour … We turn back to the center and a young woman (whose name I forgot to ask) makes some inquiries and says that "less people" are allowed to pass: humanitarian cases, schoolchildren etc. However, everyone is allowed to enter, cars included, without inspection.
An-Nabi I'liyas is open, but the entrance to Izbat Tabib (which is also a possibility to enter Azzun) is blocked by rocks and earth ramparts and the workers have to climb over them in order to get to their transportation, part of which is in Israel. The entrance to Azzun is blocked by concrete cubes which cars cannot pass but pedestrians can. Two reservists in a Hummer watch the passers-by but do not stop them. There are few Palestinian cars on road 55. Laqif village (opposite Karnei Shomron) is completely blocked. The road from Jinsafut village to road 55 is blocked but the way out to road 5066 (the road to Ariel) is open also for cars.
The main entrance to the left is open but only some of the shops are open although there is no curfew. The turn to Hajja village is closed and one can enter and leave the village only on foot. Immatin village, that looks beautiful from the outside, is not blocked at all and the traffic to and from it is free.
We arrived at Jit village, about which we reported previously.
There are no cars at the entrance because they pass to the hand gesture without being checked. At the exit, there is a line of about 20 cars. The twentieth one arrives after 10 minutes. From time to time documents are checked on the computer but while the check is carried out, the taxi stands on the roadside and the traffic keeps streaming.
09:15 – We leave.
At the checkpoint passage the soldiers ask us about the flags and wish to see out ID cards. We tell them that we are members of Machsom Watch and that we enter Jubara, as usual, and go on from there to Ar-Ras checkpoint. That really scares the checkpoint commander, who only yesterday started his duty here, and he calls, for our own good and safety, the brigade headquarters to get instructions as to what should be done about us. When the answer delays, we put Tami, our devoted colleague, in the picture. It takes half an hour of inquiries to get the shocking answer from the brigade headquarters, saying that we have to sign some forms that are to be found at the brigade office in care of the non-commissioned officer of the brigade spokeswoman. These forms say that we will not hold the army responsible if anything happens to us …
Tami makes some more inquiries and it turns out that the checkpoint commander thought we were going to Tulkarm, which explains the strange instruction. There is no problem with going to Ar-Ras. Feeling victorious (as small as the victory is), we pass the Schoolchildren's Gate and reach Ar-Ras checkpoint. What we see when we get there is four reservists sitting on white plastic chairs, cracking sunflower seeds.
Free passage of cars that come from the direction of Qalqiliya and random checks of those that come from the direction of Tulkarm.