'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Azzun, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Mon 31.12.07, Morning
07:15 – This is a village whose access road branches off from the road to Alfe Menashe. The village is surrounded by a fence and the way out of it is through a gate that is supposed to open at 06:30. (At all the times we were there, the Border Police soldiers assigned to be there didn't open the gate on time.) The village has another exit connected to Habla and the tunnel that connects Habla and Qalqiliya, but the village residents are allowed to go out only through this gate and if they are late on their way back, they have to make a very big and expensive detour.
Ras Atiya is in the territory of the Palestinian Authority but the two "sibling" villages they are closely connected with – common schools and close family relationship – are in the Alfe Menashe enclave, inside the fence that connects them to Israel. The children who every morning get to school in the village are checked by the soldiers (not on the magnometer) and the teachers who enter have to show documents. Although it is usually done in a quiet and matter-of-fact atmosphere, we have to wonder what effect years of passing checkpoints and being forced to have their bags checked just to go to school leave on these children and many others. Let me remind you that these checks are on entering the territories of the Palestinian Authority…
All the cars and the workers that leave the village are also checked very thoroughly: feet through the magnometer and random unloading of boxes and bags from the pick-up trucks that carry a lot of vegetables. The schoolchildren bus that leaves the village to school in the neighbouring village is also thoroughly checked. But here, because of the annexation of the enclave to Israel and the possibility, as a result, to enter Israel without passing another checkpoint, the illogic of the checkpoint laws is evident.
07:55 – Workers are waiting to pass to Israel and there is also a short line of cars that wish to enter.
08:00 – Seven cars, most of which are cabs, are at the entrance to the city. At the exit, the end of the line cannot be seen. One cab is checked by a woman dog trainer and her dog, which stops the line because they are not sent to stand aside. Most of the cabs pass without inspection, but randomly they stop a cab and write down the ID card number (unique for Qalqiliya…). There are long chatting breaks between one hand gesture and another, which contributes to the length of the line.
08:35 – The entry from road 55 is open both for cars and pedestrians.
10:05 – No line at the entrance and cars, both Palestinian and Israeli, get in without inspection. On the way out, there is a line of 17 cars that pass within 8 minutes. All the time the traffic is streaming.
10:45 – The passage is free without any problems.
The Flowers Gate
10:50 – Two "illegals" [in Israel without a residence permit] are waiting nearby for permission to pass. We have no idea how long they have been waiting, but a short time after we pass they arrive at Ar-Ras checkpoint and continue without problems toward Tulkarm.
10:55 – Cars that come from the direction of Tulkarm go through inspections but those that come from Qalqiliya don't. There are no women dog trainers, the soldiers are civil and there are no delays.
11:05 – We leave to go back home. There have been no severe events, so why is exactly that so exasperating?