Afternoon

Nov-4-2003
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T.P. T.S., D. B. (Taatra Intersection (Tapuah)There were ambulances standing in every possible direction, but they passed within a reasonable time. After we looked around, we saw a man walking, bent over and leaning on another man, barely able to walk. We took him to the Hawara checkpoint where he could continue in a taxi or an ambulance. He had a dislocated back and groaned and sighed at every turn. It was evident that he was suffering. His brother had brought him from their place of work (Adam Bridge) but the brother was not allowed to pass the checkpoint. It isn't clear to me how he had intended to reach the Hawara checkpoint alone in his condition.Itzhar Checkpoint--Again, an improvised checkpoint that apparently is gradually becoming a permanent fixture. Tami got out of the car to check out the situation and returned upset. There is a man who is tied to a tree in the orchard with his brother next to him and he is shouting for help. The commander of the checkpoint said that he was violent. Because of our suffering passenger, we decided to first take him to Hawara and to call the Moked (Center for the Defense of the Individual) to ask what to do.Hawara Checkpoint--closed. There is a hot warning out. Nobody, not even ambulances (there were 7, some of them with patients inside) could pass. Everybody's identity cards were taken from them, including those of the medical staff. The soldiers are very nervous and shouting at everybody to get into their cars immediately and wait inside them. They say that they have information about the presence of a dangerous suicide terrorist at the checkpoint. In contrast, the settlers pass by leisurely. Three settler women arrive from the direction of Alon Moreh and stand in the middle of the intersection hitchhiking--a totally pastoral scene!We returned to Yitzhar Intersection--the brother tells us that he and his brother were driving their gigantic trucks (20 meters long) from Nablus to Jerico. A soldier checked the papers of the brother and signaled him to pass and he thought that the signal included him and began to pass as well. The soldiers took both of them to the orchard and told them to sit down and not move. Meanwhile, at the checkpoint an argument developed between a settler and a driver and they got up and came closer to see what was going on. The soldiers pounced on the brother and tied him to a tree. In a conversation with the commander of the checkpoint, he said "the trucks tried to bypass the checkpoint and when we tried to stop him, he lifted a hand on the soldier and cursed him". Dafna asked how it was possible for this gigantic truck to bypass the checkpoint, especially since there are guardrails along the road? "No, not bypass, to break through the checkpoint. We notified the secret service and they will soon come to take him away." He was not willing to talk to us further and demanded that we leave the checkpoint and go to the command post that they had erected on the side of the road. We refused, but moved away from the soldiers. One of the soldiers, who told us that he is a settler, came over to us and tried to get into a political argument and we refused. He turned to Dafna and took out of his bag a large kitchen knife and said, "would you care if I was stabbed?" "Very much, " I said. "Well then you should know that this guy tried to stab me with this knife." " Too bad, " I said, "that you do not synchronize your stories because your commander told us a totally different story", and then he corrected himself and said that earlier someone else tried to stab him with that knife… We got worried and had the feeling that they were about to frame the stabbing story on the driver and so called the Humanitarian Center of the Army and the Center for the Defense of the Individual. We gave a card of the Moked (center for the defense of the Individual) to the brother and also Dafna's phone number. By the way, all the women who pass through the checkpoint must pass the guardrail and enter a tent on the side of the road where women soldiers give them a physical check. The passage over the guardrail is hard because of their long dresses and most especially for pregnant women, old women and women who are holding babies (the women soldiers help them pass the guardrail). There were many soldiers at the intersection but all the cars that arrived had to wait at least one half hour, when most of the soldiers are doing nothing while just one checks. When we asked why, the commander answered that "nobody is unoccupied here, everybody is filling a task". We thought perhaps the soldiers were purposely not doing their work because of us and decided to return to Hawara.Hawara (south)--there is no long line and it is progressing at a good pace.Hawara (north)--terrible. Hundreds of people in two groups--men and women. On the pedestrian path before the checkpoint are a few Palestinian ID cards thrown and there is a Palestinian who is ordering them. The soldier who was at the checkpoint had collected the Ids of people who wanted to pass and had thrown them there. Every person, after he is checked, must go to search for his ID and return to the soldier with it. Our attempts to talk to the soldier and later the commander were met with total silence. The "IDF" is "angry" with machsomwatch. (what a standard of behavior!) We called Ofer and he said that he would look into the subject of ID cards. When we left, an hour later, nothing had changed. In response to our query about the disorder and large number of people waiting he said that it was like this in all the places and there was nothing to be done. The soldiers shout "Yirga, yirga!" and push this enormous crowd and the crowd pushes back. Everybody's nerves are on edge. In both the men's and women's lines, but in the women's onebody passes without waiting for a half-hour. The soldiers refuse to talk to us. A couple with a babyinfo-icon who is about one year old, after an operation are returning from the hospital. They have a pass from the hospital and claim that they have been there since 9:30 in the morning. Their documents are with the soldier and he told them to go back to the end of the line. They are standing on the side. The woman is crying. We call the doctors for Human Rights. We went over to the women's line and Tami managed to talk to the officer who finally passes them. An army volunteer comes over to us and asks that we speak with somebody from the civil administration who will see to it that the water tank is full of water when the fast ends. The officer at the civil administration says that today he will not be able to do it, but he will make sure that tomorrow and the following days there will be water. There is no more we can do. We left at 4:30 with the checkpoint exploding with people who are hungry, thirsty and very very irritated. T he army volunteer came with us to Tel Aviv and said that in this situation, if we were not there the soldiers would have been more violent and would have thrown tear gas, she has been witness to such cases. At Itzhar intersection, the brother is sitting next to his car and is waiting for his brother. WE tried again, with no success, with the commander who said that the fellow would pay for all his transgressions. I asked what transgressions and he said that he will no longer speak with me and that he is sorry that he spoke to me at all previously. At Zaatra (Tapuah) it is already 5:15 and getting dark. There is a long line of cars and pedestrians waiting at the checkpoint. Every car is very slowly checked. The soldier at the checkpoint asked to check our ID's and asked where we were and what we did. WE gave him a machsomwatch leaflet and continued home. At 7:30 we got a call from Tami at the Humanitarian Center that the fellow who had been tied up was released. I called the brother and he said that five minuets ago his brother was released and that they are on their way home.