6.10am, Be'tach. According to the
soldiers, the main flow of people is usually at 5am. Today there is
a curfew. We witnessed smooth passage of pedestrians with working
permits. But today's new rule was that children were not permitted
through, and those who came were sent back. There were hardly any
"back to back lorries. At 6.30 the soldiers' shift changed and
the fresh commander asked us to get out of the checkpoint

Jabbara: Here no curfew, and children could pass. On the other
hand, even those with working permits were not let through into
Israel. We informed them that they could get through in nearby
Be'tach. Taxis and pedestrians were passing through smoothly. Even
carts and small lorries carrying produce - vegetables and fruit -
were let through without any extra checking. (Remember last week's
eggs which were not let through?). Three Palestinians had their IDs
confiscated, because of trying to bypass the checkpoint. With our
intervention, they were soon returned. Several ambulances went
through from Tulkarm, with little inconvenience. Our impression was
that the soldiers were getting tired, and were as human as
circumstances allowed. We talked to 5 young men who walked from one
village to another - including 3 brothers who complained that they
were not granted working permits because of their age, although
they had worked before the Intifada in Taibeh. Two of them were

We couldn't help Israeli Arabs in two cases. One was a couple who
came from Qalanswa (an Israeli Arab village not far from the fence)
and wished to visit their daughter who just gave birth at Far'un
(the neighbouring village, but on the other side of the fence). The
other was a lorry driver with tiny chicks from the Israeli side. At
8am the shift changed, and more tension was around. A lorry coming
from the East was going to be sent back, but when we told the new
commander that inside their own territory the Palestinians could go
from one direction to the other, she revised her command and let
them through. The driver had come from Jericho and was already on
the road since 4am! Despite the more busy traffic the actual
control points were not manned with more soldiers. An officer got
nervous about our picture taking. He said that if terrorists would
see the actual checkpoint, they could use it as a target. We
explained that we were interested in the Palestinians only and not
the checkpoint as such.