Jubara

May-26-2003
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When we arrived at the checkpoint we
were struck by the emptiness. No Palestinians, no vehicles only
three soldiers at the checkpoint.

At 6.30 a single man approached the checkpoint and we were asked by
a soldier, David, who also was at the checkpoint last week, to move
away from the control point. When the Palestinian was refused to
cross despite the fact that he had a permit we asked the
Palestinian to show us his permit. On the permit was written that
he may cross even at times of curfew and the permit was valid till
June 16th. When we drew David's attention to this information he
just told us that we disturb him. We then called the second in
command of the unit - Roi - who told us that he would investigate.
David became more agitated when he saw us calling and he called his
superiors. Unfortunately all this negotiation had no effect. One of
the other soldiers said to David: "Why don't you just chase
him off".

Also the taxis that usually stand on the Palestinian side were
absent. A military jeep which saw us at that point stopped and we
spoke to them. We spoke with the commander of the regiment - Yair -
who told us that today there is a "super
curfew".

At 7.23 a woman with a green ID, who is married to an Israeli, was
let through. (Last week a man with the same kind of ID who is
married to an Israeli and has children with her was not let threw).

It is very clear that things happen at the checkpoint without
specific, clear, unequivocal rules or order. Much depends on the
specific soldier's mood and personality. We also can say from our
experience, not only from today, that the higher officers back the
soldiers at the checkpoint and one cannot really get their
understanding of facts.

Our conclusion of today was that despite the emptiness it was
important that we were there. It also struck us that practically
since before Pesach (before the middle of April), if not earlier,
there has been an ongoing curfew over the West Bank. The
Palestinian who this morning came with a valid permit to work in
Israel told us that during the last six weeks he only worked three
days due to the curfew. He was quite understandably desperate. All
media reports about lifting the curfew are just not true, neither
during the visit of Powell here in Israel, nor now after the
Israeli Government has declared that Israel accepts the
roadmap.