'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Azzun, Jit, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Wed 9.1.08, Morning
Today is a holiday in the West Bank (Al Hijara). Because of Bush's visit there is a closure between the occupied territories and Israel. The border passages were closed off, thus Arab workers did not go to work in Israel. Also due to the closure the entry to the Autonomy Territories was forbidden to all vehicles bearing Israeli number plates, which prevented all 1948 Arabs from using the holiday time to visit their relatives. At the entrance to Tulkarm a long queue formed because drivers of Israeli cars refused to accept the decree and argued with the soldiers at the road block. Obviously settlers travelled normally and were not affected by the closure.
Today there were no closures stopping the access from Arab towns and villages to Route 55.
Qalqiliya Passage (near Zofin) 7:00
There are about 10 cars in the queue for the inspections at the exit from the town. Waiting time lasts about 10 minutes, which means one car per minute. Some women workers go back - because of the closure they did not manage to go to work. On the other hand, at the upper road block, workers who work at the settlements on the seamline ( Alfei Menashe, Oranit etc.) are allowed passage.
On Route 55 east bound
Izbat at Tabib - open.
Azzun , the Square Junction - open.
Kafr Laqif - open.
Between Al Funduq and Haija - open.
Jit Junction - no army presence.
"Shvut Ami" Settlement - 2 weeks ago the army cleared away the settlers, but it seems something is happenning again in the area.
Anabta - 9:30
About 30 cars await at the entrance to the town. Soldiers have to argue with drivers of cars with yellow number plates, whose entry is blocked until after the Sabbath, when the closure will end. Fairly rigorous inspections (including checking of documents and random cargo inspections). We asked the soldiers why they were specifically targeting lorries carrying humanitarian tags. A soldier answered that lately he had inspected an ambulance and had discovered hitchhikers in it.
Jubara, Upper Gate, 10:00
Entry passes to this village, which is on the seamline, are divided into two categories: A. passes for residents who are allowed to enter and leave as they please. B. Work permits, given to land owners and their workers , which are valid up till 19:00. The soldiers monitor the exit and entry hours of the work permit holders with the help of a special copybook (in order to reduce the quantity of people entering Israel via Jubara.)
A Palestinian was delayed for a long time (at least half an hour till we left), because according to the army records he entered Jubara yesterday. According to the soldiers the Palestinian will wait until the arrival of an officer, who will decide how to punish him, ie for how long will he lose his license to enter the village. This appears to be a common procedure.
It is well known that this road block, which is located in an isolated rural area, is particularly popular with the Military Intelligence investigators, who set up meetings here with informers, or for trapping new collaborators. This time again we saw three passengers getting off a cab, being led led one by one into the obscured armoured vehicle of the Military Intelligence forces. One of these young men told us that this was the first time that "they" wanted to speak to him and that he does not intend to collaborate . We asked him how does he deal with the fact that everybody can see him talking to the Military Intelligence. He replied that his friends "all know him and they know he is not a traitor". We nodded and thought to ourselves "happy is he who believes..." We surmise that the massive recruitment of collaborators fatally wounds the solidarity within the Palestinian society and the ability of this body to act in unity in order to achieve common goals. We feel that the activities of the Military Intelligence during the past 40 years contributed to the chaotic state within the territories, because of which the Israelis feel "there is no one to talk with".