Weekly Digest 29.9-6.10.07 | Machsomwatch
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Weekly Digest 29.9-6.10.07

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Sunday, 14 October, 2007

 Bethlehem (Checkpoint 300) and Environs  

Date: Tuesday, 2.10.07, AM

  05:40, Bethlehem CP. Total closureinfo-icon for the whole week of Succot. Accordingly, the CP is almost empty; only the happy few who hold the right permits can pass.  About 7 women are held in a shed, a few meters away from the entrance to the CP, guarded by BP. They were apprehended while trying to sneak into Jerusalem, without the necessary documents, not even IDs. A polite officer explains that they are awaiting the police; he will not let us speak with them.  40 minutes later, one woman had been released after being identified; the police have not yet arrived.   08:00, Ezyon DCL. The DCL, we are told, is functioning as usual. There are about six people.   Abu Dis Area  

Date: Monday PM, 1.10.07

  Olives Terminal.  Almost deserted. Some schoolchildren returning from Jerusalem hopped on taxis to get home. Drivers said that there was hardly any work due to the closure. A man dropped off his wife and two young children â€" he had no permit to cross with them.   Container CP. A car had been emptied out, its driver in the lock-up. A girl soldier with a dog who sniff for explosives in the car. Traffic flowed at reasonable pace in both directions. Some workers employed in Maaleh Adumim passed without delay. A blue police car checked the suspicious car's engine number. We were told to delete the photo of the dog from our camerainfo-icon. “It is an ‘armyâ€TM dog".     Qalandiya â€" A-Ram Area  

Date: Friday AM, 5.10.07, 4th Friday of Ramadan

  09.20.  Constant traffic of pedestrians and vehicles. Passage according to the instructions (40+ for women and 50+ for men).  At this CP, many carry blue ID. Soldiers, and especially officers, were efficient, trying to keep the flames down, as there were people many who came hoping to pass, in spite of the instructions, and kept standing behind the CP till the very last moment. At some point 4 young men came running, apparently trying to escape soldiers who were intent on catching them (we think that they were forced out of a transit). One was caught by 5 soldiers and the officer immediately came running and calling to them: "Don't hit him!" He was taken for interrogation. At 12.00, even those who were hoping to get through dispersed.   Nablus Area Date: Sunday, 30.9.07, PM 15:00, Beit Iba. Few pedestrians. 16:30, Qalqilya. Traffic is flowing; not many vehicles on either side. Date: Monday, 1.10.07, AM 06.35, Qalqilya. No cars entering the city, about 12 cars waiting to exit. Checking of incoming cars is random. No serious delays in either direction. 07.30, Jit Junction. No soldiers. 07.40, Beit Iba. There are very few people crossing, and the soldiers seem quite friendly. There are 2 detaineesinfo-icon. According to the soldiers, they tried to go through without presenting their ID's and are "being punished". 8.10. More Palestinians arrive, and another checker is appointed to speed up the process. Women and the elderly pass without check. 8.30. The officer in charge very reluctantly agrees that we speak to the detainees. They are university students from Nablus who have no idea why they are being held. There is a change of shift, and the new officer in charge is now insisting on everyone being stopped for a check; even women with babies and young children being made to stand in line and produce their IDs. At 10.30 I get a call from one of the detainees informing me that he has been released. Date: Thursday, 4.10.07, PM 19:30 â€" 01:40 19:30, Huwwara. A man, his pregnant wife and babyinfo-icon daughter are not allowed in because â€" as the soldier put it â€" they were a half hour late. The man explained to the soldiers that he had been kept waiting at the Zaatara (Tapuach) Junction for a long time and that is why he didn't make it by 19:00. Even his permit to enter Israel did not convince the checkpoint commander. Another 4 cars arrived, and their passengers, too, were prevented entry on the same pretext. No explanations helped, and not one of them was permitted to enter. We have been monitoring Huwwara Checkpoint for over five years now, and for the first time we are learning that even the fortunate fewest of the few who are privileged to have permits to enter Nablus with their cars, must arrive at the checkpoint by seven p.m. The two truck drivers amongst the people waiting argued with the soldiers who responded by lashing out with their rifle butts and chased them off. When the people called the DCO (District Coordination Office) for help, the checkpoint commander said, "you can call the DCO all you want, you will not pass". When told that a pregnant woman and a baby are sitting in the car, he said: "Let them die as far as I'm concerned. What do I care…" We made dozens of phone calls to the army hotline. They promised to look into it and take care of the situation, and despite their efforts, they were constantly lied to. The soldiers at the checkpoint kept telling them that no one was waiting. The night shift soldier at the DCO explained that he cannot send a DCO officer to the site because they finish their duty at 5-6 p.m. and can only make their recommendations to the brigade in charge, no more. And surely soon everyone will pass, and actually there is no one waiting there and so there is no problem. At 25 minutes past midnight, we woke up Dalia Bassa (health coordinator of the DCO) and asked for her help, and after Dalia was convinced of the facts, she joined the efforts for she realized the DCO whitewashes and the soldiers are lying and having a ball. Indeed it was reported to us that every time the soldiers say on their communications sets "there's no one at the checkpoint" they crack up laughing and then tell the Palestinians that no order has been received to let them in. At 1:10 a.m. the pregnant woman decided to walk home with the baby, hoping some family member would pick them up on the other side of the checkpoint. 1:20. We spoke to the DCO again. The soldier on night shift repeated that the soldiers deny anyone's presence at the checkpoint. This checkpoint is located exactly 3 minutes from the DCO at the nearby army base. We have been complaining for six and a half hours, dozens of phone calls, and it didn't once occur to him to send a DCO representative to put an end to the story. 1:40. The order was given. Now abuse has to be extended just a little bit more: vehicle inspection. The truck driver had to pull apart the cabin, the soldiers rummaged in every compartment and under every car seat. Finally, each drive got his own personal wave-off to the sounds of "Fuck you, move already…" Friday, 5.10.07, evening â€" annex to previous report: At 20:44, a liver patient awaiting transplant called us, telling us he had to reach his Nablus hospital urgently in order to receive an injection. Because of his illness, he holds a humanitarian pass to enter Nablus in his own cab. Because the Beit Iba checkpoint near his residence is closed down at 20:00, he had to drive all the way to Huwwara, where the soldier told him that since he arrived after 7 p.m. he could not enter Nablus. Finally, the DCO intervened, and after half an hour, the order arrived to let him through. A complaint will be filed with the army hotline. Tulkarm Area Date: Monday, 1.10.07, AM  9.40, Anabta. A long line of 20 cars in the direction of Tulkarm suddenly disperse when we arrive, probably the result of a negligent soldier. There is a line of about 12 cars in the other direction undergoing cursory checks.  10.30, Ar-Ras. No lines. Date: Sunday, 30.9.07, PM 13:30, Jubara. No vehicles coming in or going out. Ar-Ras. Few cars from the Tulkarm side. 14:00, Anabta. Few vehicles on both directions, checking sporadic.