'Anabta, Eyal, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Wed 20.2.08, Morning
Eyal Passage 7:00
We heard no complaints; the workers are pleased and say that the passage through is easy.
Lower Jubara 7:15
The gate is locked. We waited for 15 minutes but the soldiers did not find the key. No entry to the village.
Still no exit from Tulkarm for male residents of Jenin, aged 18-35.
We watched more than 10 people being sent back, which is strange since usually when separation lasts more than a day, the news spread and the restricted residents do not come to the checkpoint at all. We gathered some names for the Association for Civil Rights, for example a student who lives in Ramalla and studies at the University of Bir Zeit, who was sent back because according to his ID he is a resident of Jenin. The student presented a medical certificate to the checkpoint commander, stating that a bullet had hit his shoulder, but he does not have the right document to get him through - a hospital appointment.
The queue of vehicles awaiting passage at the checkpoint is normal for the time and place - about 20 minutes delay.
There is no significant queue at the entrance to Tulkarm, since there is no inspection of ID's. Usually at this checkpoint even cars with Israeli number plates enter without inspection.
Not a very long queue at the exit from the town. No special restrictions on entries and exits for Palestinian vehicles.
As to vehicles with Israeli number plates - according to the explanation we received today, it consists of about 300 people, residents of Qalqliya, who have permits to drive Israeli vehicles. Contrary to what we assumed before, the permit is given to a person and not to a car, although he whose name appears on the list of permit holders, has to present a vehicle permit bearing his own name. It is permitted to a man/woman to drive a car registered under the name of his/her son/daughter but not in a vehicle registered under his/her brother/sister's name.
Assuming that we understand this correctly, this arrangement is meant for Palestinians with an Israeli Identity cards (perhaps due to a marriage to an Israeli partner), who had been vetted by the Military Intelligence.
The restriction may sound almost logical (because of the fear of the entry of vehicles with explosives to Israel) apart from 2 simple facts:
A. One can transfer explosives from an Israeli car to a Palestinian one and vice versa.
B. An Isreali vehicle enters Tulkarm freely.
The checkpoint commander to whom we chatted claimed that we did not have enough information and that we saw the checkpoints 'through a straw' (ie from a narrow point of view). We reiterated that he too was in a similar position and he answered that as a soldier he was obliged to look through' the military straw'.