'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Azzun, Qalqiliya, Wed 27.2.08, Morning
No lines in either direction and random checking.
Area of Azzun.
A sighting of the checkpoint on our way to the crossroads of Jit.
Izbit Tabib: The way to the main road is open. From the industrial area in the direction of the centre of Azzun the two mounds of earth which blocked the road have been removed. The passage in the northern tunnel in the direction of Tulkarm is open. The main road to Azzun through the circle is closed with mounds of dirt and bundles of barbed wire and there is also an army car with soldier. The road from the main road to the village of Akif is open.
No lines, random checking and no limitations.
9.00 A-Ras. (farm 8).
A long line of cars waiting to leave Tulkarm and we cannot see the send of it. At the other checkpoints everything was quiet and the traffice flowed but here there is a strict procedure which includes cars waiting at the line which is 50 metres from the crossroads and from there cars come forward one at a time when summoned and stop 15 metres from the crossroads and there after people get out of the car the IDs have to be taken to the checkpoint. A driver said they had been there an hour and a half and even if he was exaggerating it is obvious that the situation is not as usual. Because of the delay cars try to bypass and the soldiers waste their time trying to establish order and send people back to the end of the line, don't speak to me, go back 5 metres, I don't do favours, etc. The result of course is more delay and the checkpoint causes more friction and pressure.
Because of the lines which lengthens the people prefer to get out of the cars and go on foot to take another taxi but the commander has decided to disband the provisional taxi rank which had been there and sends soldiers to take IDs from all the people who are waiting. Obviously everyone who was there had already been inspected 70 metres back but the army still regards them as suspicious. Then when there are already 10s of people waiting the time has come to bring them into order, that they should not stand on the road but in line at the side of it. Here the checking takes 10 minutes and in the meantime 3 checkers are missing from the main checkpoint and therefore no one leaves Tulkarm.
At last the soldiers go back to the checkpoint and then an army vehicle comes up and a sergeant gets out and says to stop this cursed checkpoint and come and get some food.He asks why everything is so dirty and the commander says that if he tells the soldiers to clean the checkpoint will close down and the cursed military police will make problems and so he prefers it should be dirty.
Cars going to Jubara are also checked again very carefully at the entrance to the village which is 200 metres from this checkpoint….between these two checkpoint is only a road which is between to fences of barbed wire so that no one can get through. Those wishing to get to Jubara do not think that they have to wait at Ar‑Ras and again there are arguments. The soldiers are not wearing helmets and it does not seem that there is a hot alert and there the delays are only caused because of nervousness and lack of experience and it seems that we are at a checkpoint which will collapse from tension.