Morning

Dec-1-2003
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Jubara Checkpoint, MON AM, 1 Dec 2003Watchers: M.D., N.A., H.E., E.M. 07:20 -- At the schoolchildren's gate. The children have just past. The soldiers have locked the gate. A farmer from A-Ras, two young women from Qalqiliya who said they wanted to go to Jubara (probably to Taibeh) were not let through. Our presence made the soldier in charge try to let them through by calling his superiors, but without success. They were told to go through the checkpoint. We stayed till 08:00 to see if any children who were late would come and so did the army vehicle. Z.Y., a journalist from "Yediot Aharonot," was at the gate and watched the children go through. He asked us for more information about the gate's functioning and then joined us on the way down to the checkpoint.08:00 -- What a mess! Clouds of dust, heavy trucks crossing endlessly back and forth through the various directions of the checkpoint. On both hill slopes, heavy equipment was tearing up the mountain slopes, pulling down olive trees as they went, opening new roads and altering the whole site. What is going to be at this place? Noises all over the place and endless people and vehicles in all the three directions of the checkpoint. Where to go first? How to find the place to situate oneself without being run over? With whom to talk? How can one be heard? We split. The soldiers say there is a "closureinfo-icon" [between Israel and the Territories]. No one is allowed to go to Jubara. No farmers, not even an old woman with a bucket in her hands who wants to pick the last olives. Not the farmer, who until recently had a permit, but must now go to the DCO to renew it. Our attempt with the Humanitarian Civil Administration is in vain. Shai, and his soldier assistant Yuval, are really trying to help, but are helpless.Eventually we learn from the soldiers -- who have lost control over this enormous disorder, with people all the time succeeding in sneaking toward Jubara (on their way to Taibeh) -- that there were some shooting the previous day, and that this is the reason for the closure. Israeli farmers are angry and desperate because their workers for the strawberries are not let through, even those holding permits. Quite a few Israeli Palestinians with blue IDs from Taibeh and Kalansua are allowed to pass in the direction of Tulkarm for family visitation. On the Tulkarm end, an enormous number of people sit, stand or are waiting to go through in their horse-drawn wagons to go through. Cars, trucks and ambulances drive through those crowds. We mingle with the Palestinians, and hear a story about an 8-year-old girl kidnapped from Far'un to Taibeh or Kalansua. Closer inquiry reveals this to be a half-criminal affair.Another case is of a wounded man who was injured on the Israeli side but was taken by his employer to the fence near the settlement Sal'it and was deserted there. Now he stays at home. Who must pay him compensation? Who will take responsibility for his medical care? We decide to precede the case to Dalia Bassa and Physicians for Human Rights with the help of N.- an activist for Palestinian Human Rights from Kfat Zur. We provide her with the “Moked” calling card.The journalist, I think, was shocked by the sight and left after half an hour at the checkpoint. 09:30 -- Tulkarm checkpoint. Quite a few trucks are working at "back-to-back" loading at the site. The gate is half-open. When we inquire with the soldiers it turns out that here people with permits are being allowed to go through. The young soldier calls for another soldier, Yinon ("he is from the DCO") to come over. Yinon approaches us at the gate and confirms that people with permits may go through to work in Israel.That morning no one went through because, due to unclear reasons, the gate was not opened on time. We decide to go back to Jubara and encourage people with permits, who were refused at that checkpoint, to go to the Tulkarm checkpoint - a 10 minutes' drive - and try crossing through there. (Among them is someone who has doctor’s appointment for today at Ichilov Hospital in Tel-Aviv and was refused). Watcher M.D. drives back to Tulkarm and makes sure that the man with the medical referral gets through, and another man too. The women workers did not turn up till 10:45 when M.D. had to leave, but she made sure that Yinon would let them through when they did arrive.