'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Azzun, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Sun 9.3.08, Afternoon
12: 40 Habla
An Israeli family from Jaljulia (Palestinian Israelis with blue identity cards), innumerable packages and two hot and impatient children arrive at the agricultural gate, hoping to visit family on the other side. A tractor waits, its noisy engine left running – until the driver, too, runs out of patience and turns it off. It’s ten minutes before he can move across the security road.
Meanwhile, the commander, taking his time to call in the ID numbers of the Israeli family eventually tells them that the “list” on which their names may appear is not with him, but at another crossing point, with which there is no “connection.” (Haven’t we always thought of Israel as a high tech society?) It’s nearing closing time, and the commander is anxious to get rid of problems before he begins closing the gate at 12:59. No family visit for the Jalulia family who tell us they’ll return home.
12: 55 Qalqiliya
A horse and cart, bearing three young boys, clips across the checkpoint, without stopping, the soldiers call after them, to no avail. Not much traffic in either direction, allowing a soldier to ask, “Who are you?... I’ve been in the North, fighting in Lebanon.”
A Palestine Red Crescent ambulance enters what was once the access road to the town, stops, and a father and little girl emerge. They wander round the edge of the mountains of earth, the tangles of barbed wire and wind their way carefully homewards.
Shvut Ami (outpost)
Two people sighted, the path leading up to the house has bright, white new gravel, making access (for motorized vehicles) easier?
Little traffic, cars with (yellow) Israeli license plates pass freely, no line to Tulkarm; from the city, only seven. A yellow taxi is stopped, all IDs taken from the men inside, checked by the commander inside the military tower, an operation that takes three minutes.
As we leave, several of the taxi drivers waiting for passengers, in their usual parking spot, tell us that today, at 14:00, a jeep came to tell them that they could no longer stand where they do (meaning, of course, that their livelihoods would be wrecked). Evidently, the same happened on Friday.
The soldier calls the commander, who’s “at rest” inside the checking booth: no traffic from the OPT trying to enter Israel. Without a word, he meanders over to unlock the gate up to the village, but it takes a few minutes for him to find the key! The same, oh so slow process, when we return from Ar-Ras
17:35 Gate 753
The same, oh so slow checking, both when we arrive and when we return from Ar-Ras. When we arrive, four-six pedestrians, cars coming from Ar-Ras wait, as do we. In the fast fading light, a soldier holds up a pedestrian’s permit – to check if it’s a forgery.
Little traffic, only three or four vehicles from Tulkarm. IDs of passengers are checked in cursory fashion, trunks of cars are checked.