Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Thu 31.1.08, Afternoon
Tul Karem 13:48
We visited the Elkana settlement, which was built next to the Palestinian village of Masha, with no intention of ever becoming neighbors. This is made evident by the surrounding fences and guard posts. At the edge of the settlement, a house has been jailed. A Palestinian house at the outskirts of Masha, it was supposed to be on the other side of the separation fence, but the settlers felt this would position their fence too close to Palestinians, so the house has been surrounded by fences on all sides and a yellow gate put, for the residents to be able to visit their village. Yet no one is allowed to visit them.
The villagers' land is also on the other side of the fence. In the beginning the gate was always open for them to be able to get through to their land in order to work. Then it only opened three times a week. And now it's always shut, one needs a special permit to get through.
Three soldiers are checking cars and pedestrians; another soldier is up on the concrete structure aiming his rifle at people and looking through the eyepiece. Thirty cars are waiting to be checked.
It is very cold, but the pedestrians who wish to pass need to stop at a distance of 5 m from the soldier, lift up their shirt and turn around. And so it happens: the man slowly approaches the group of soldiers until they decide it's close enough. 'Eh, eh, zalame!' they cry. The soldier gestures for the man to lift up his shirt, and then joins his fingers together and makes a circular movement, aimed to make him turn around, as a sultan might do, in order to examine the latest acquisition for his harem.
'Where are you from?' will ask the masters, directing their questions at car passengers. The youth will get closely examined.
While we were there, three different people came up to soldiers to say they were carrying sick persons, if they could be let through before the others: offering documents, asking for the soldiers to come take a look at the patients.
The soldier in charge- Doron- told the first (regarding his wife), that if she was well enough to be let out of the hospital, she can wait.
With the second man he refused to speak. He explained to the other soldiers: "you mustn't even talk to them. Just say no. you needn't say it twice".
But the third man had a fancy car, a Red Crescent card, and spoke English. This man was allowed to bring through his ailing father. Actually Doron never said yes. He looked straight ahead with a frozen expression and nodded slightly. And the Palestinian man who was older and better educated did not understand. He looked at the soldier and repeated: 'may I pass? May I?' and Doron always looking straight ahead nodded again, very slightly. And so it was done.
15:30 A- Ras.
Seven cars are waiting to enter Tul Karem and three are waiting to get out. Here also, men are ordered to lift up their shirts and expose their bellies in order to pass.
Many people are waiting in their cars at the only entrance to Qalqilya (the town is surrounded by a wall). The drivers at the beginning of the queue say they've been waiting for 40 minutes.' It's like this every day', one of them says. (Other MW observations confirm this). There are about 40 cars waiting at one end, and 13 at the other. It is dark. These are people waiting to return to their homes at the end of a working day. The soldiers are definitely checking faster since our arrival. (We spied on them before they could see us). Dafna called the Qalqilya DCO to complain about the long wait, and was told they will try to speed things up.
We left at 18:22.