Weekly Digest 7.10-13.10.07 | Machsomwatch
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Weekly Digest 7.10-13.10.07

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Tuesday, 16 October, 2007

 

Bethlehem (Checkpoint 300) and Environs

 

Date: Sunday AM, 7.10.07

 

 

06:50 Bethlehem CP: Many people outside, many inside. Near total silence in the terminal, where armed soldiers were controlling the crowd, directing people to the five lines and keeping them from crowding next to the windows. The Palestinians seemed content that the crowding was less and the lines moved fast, but the potential for violence and "mistakes" is so great, it makes one shudder. From the Ecumenicals we heard the crowding on the other side was huge, and no attempts were made to coordinate the lines on the two different sides.  2 men from Hebron were sent to Ezyon to adjust their magnetic cards after their handprints were unclear.

 

 

08:10 Ezyon DCL: Quite a few people waiting. One woman had the same hand problem as the men we had just seen. Her hands are swollen from cleaning agents, and the machine doesn't recognize the handprint. So she loses a day of work. A couple with an infant of one and a half years has an appointment at Hadassa. The husband is GSS prevented, so can't accompany the wife who only speaks Arabic. She gets the permit.

 

 
Date: Tuesday, 9.10.07, AM

 

05:40, Bethlehem CP. Quite orderly, apparently on both sides. At a certain moment pressure built near the checking posts, and though it took some time, a 5th post was opened.

 

 

08:00, Ezyon DCL. About seven people.

 

 

Date: Wednesday AM, 10.10.07

 

 

06:45: Bethlehem CP.  5 stations open. The hall is filled with people jammed together, pushing each other and very noisy. The Eucemenicals, who have been here since 05:00, say the CP opened at 05:30. For the first time we meet a Red Cross rep, who is standing at the exit door.  Another RC rep at the entrance passed out numbers, and now collects them, noting the time, to compare with the time of entrance.  The RC reports findings to the army and the police, but not the media.  A guard in civilian clothes is carrying a rifle, a revolver stuck in his belt.  By 07:30 few people still at the CP.

 

 

08:45  DCL Etzion.  3 people waiting; one summoned by the GSS. The office is open and receiving.

 

Final del formulario

 

Abu Dis Area

 

 

Date: Wednesday PM, 10.10.07

 

14.00 - 17.30

 

Shiekh Saed CP.  Major road works at the bottom of the CP.  A truckload of gravel was unloaded almost in the middle of the road. The CO allowed us entery after we had been refused by one of the many civilian security guards. The security guards are ‘not allowed' to talk to us.  2 houses next to the CP were being fenced off, and now one must climb over rubble to reach their doors. Inhabitants to the left of the village road, have blue Ids. From over 3000. only a little over 1000 are left.

 

 

Container CP.  A driver with a green ID, illegally driving a car with Israeli plates, took us there over the smelly stream of sewerage. The CP has undergone considerable changes. Doors, turnstiles and passages are all electronically controlled. Someone spoke to us from the ceiling to allow us to pass and even to return. Some workers and two young women were the only pedestrians passing. 2 large yellow gatesinfo-icon that close off the road were closed. The civilian security guard looked rather frightening. The soldiers were friendly.

 

 

Abu Dis. Empty at the bawabe. The wall not yet erected on the premises of the Monastery, but we were not allowed to check it out from where the soldiers' booth stands.

 

 

Olive Crossing, Israeli side.  Only 2 women with a few young children trudged through the fences. The end of the fast was near. This was very apparent when we got into a huge traffic jam exiting via A-Tur.

 

 

Qalandiya - A-Ram Area

 

 

Date: Monday AM, 8.10.07 (Id el Khader).

 

 

Anata, 07:00.  The big parking lot is full of buses, and many children in school uniforms waiting for theirs.  Over 10 soldiers, BP, and security  men. A lot of traffic and pedestriians passing. On the side is a large group of village women who lack permits and work as housecleaners for Jewish or East Jerusalem families. The soldiers watch the old women and every now and then chase them back. 2 old women manage to squeeze through and disappear in the valley. But a soldier noticed them and started walking fast to meet them at the exit - at the far end of the busloading zone.  All the little kids watched - tense, silent. The soldier met the women and ordered them to go back and followed them back to the CP.  Then pebbles were flying in the air.   One was a little boy in his face.  The kids said the boy was hit by the soldier, but we had witnessed it as reported.'

 

 

Qalandiya, 08:00.  The parking lot was declared as "sterileinfo-icon zone" because of the Muslim holiday.  It was a busy day. The Civil Administration office only opened well past 09.00. Why? "The soldiers have to eat".  We called to request more gates to be opened. It is common that people queue at gate 1, as announced on the  loudspeaker, and suddenly all rush to gate 2 which for some reason suddenly oponed while the official gate 1 is not moving. Here, too, was a great number of village women passing.  It is unusual to see old women who don't understand the instructions delivered as a barking volley in  half broken Arabic in combination with Hebrew. We managed to have a policeman come and help to ease the traffic.

 

 

Date: Thursday AM, 11.10.07

 

 

06.40 Anata.  Steady flow of pedestrians and vehicles. Many children on their way to school. 2 women are caught in their attempt to bypass the CP.  They are led to the CP, their bags returned to them, and are sent back. Still, they kept standing by the CP hoping to get through. Otherwise everything flowed routinely.

 

 

07.45 Qalandiya.  The waiting area crowded with prisoners' families, who were let through only at 08.00. The size of their packages was strikingly smaller than usual. The toilets in the waiting were closed but did not stink this time. At the external turnstiles, the policeman in charge demanded we get out, or he threatened to detain us. We stood our ground, saying that the court had decided that we had to right to stand there. That was the end of the argument.

 

 

08.30 Lill:  A line of about ten cars.

 

 

The wall has reached Hizme CP.

 

 

 

Nablus Area

 

 

Date: Sunday, 7.10.07, PM

13:30, Qalqilya. 17 vehicles are waiting to enter Qalqilya, 1 vehicle coming out. The soldiers are working efficiently and the traffic moves rapidly, but there is always a line to go in. 

Jit Junction. No soldiers, no vehicles.

14:20, Shavei Shomron. Uneventful

14:40, Deir Sharaf. Uneventful

15:00, Beit Iba. IDs of drivers coming out of Nablus are being checked; the check is slow.

The crowd of people was terrific, and was like this the entire time we were there. There were at most times between 5-7 soldiers, but they were not working efficiently and not in a pleasant manner.

Date: Tuesday, 9.10.07, AM

07:15--09:00, Beit Iba. The checking of the cars and people coming out of Nablus is very thorough. At the entrance the checking is random but we observe with amazement the behaviour of the checking soldier. He takes the ID, glances at it and then at the list hidden by the banister of the booth, reaches out as if to hand it to the waiting man, pulls it back, waves it in the air, stares at the sky and hands it back. This self-amusement takes seconds, but he repeats it time and again.

It seems that the main concern of the soldiers today is ascertaining that children accompanying their parents are indeed their children. This odd rule prohibiting under- sixteen-year- old children enter Nablus without a parent and without the stub of the ID or a birth-certificate that proves it, is an old one. The connection of it to security still has to be proved. Today the soldiers seem to think this is the main security risk. A mother is sent to fetch this stub, a woman with a toddler is undergoing a cross-examination and so does a sub-teen to make sure the woman accompanying him is indeed his mother. When we ask what this has to do with security we get a lecture, the gist of which is the importance of the checkpoint.

Date: Tuesday, 9.10.07, AM

06:30--07:00, Qalqilya. Almost idle. Cars carrying Israeli plates pass freely into the city, cars coming out are checked cursorily.

Road 55 is deserted. No soldiers at the entrance to Azun, Jit junction is unmanned.

Date: Thursday, 11.10.07, PM

19:06-19:20, Beit Iba. 3 trucks on the line entering Nablus, two leaving Nablus and one from Kuchin. A few pedestrians waiting to enter Nablus.

Date: Thursday, 11.10.07, PM

Jit Junction and the checkpoint at Yitzhar are not manned.

15: 41-17:01, Huwwara. The parking lot is packed. The CP is crowded with people and vehicles. There are a lot of soldiers around including officers. There are 8 vehicles in line to Nablus and an endless line from Nablus. Waiting time: over an hour. Vehicles stop at some distance from the CP. Passengers step out and those with packages go over to the X ray truck to have them checked. The vehicles then head, without the passengers, to the checking booth and are checked inside and out. This takes anywhere from one minute to 13 minutes.

Many vehicles are turned away because they do not have the proper permit. Apparently, Palestinian had had the mistaken impression that because of the holiday, exceptions would be made. The disappointment was poignant. Vehicle after vehicle were turned back. The DCL (District Coordination Office) representatives did allow several people who had not been allowed in by the regular soldiers to pass through with their cars. To add to the holiday spirit of the checkpoint, the police are stationed to the side. They randomly pick out a vehicle who has either just waited on line for the last hour leaving Nablus or is about to enter Nablus.

At the pedestrian area there were 3 checking booths and also a side "humanitarian" line. Waiting time: over an hour.

17:00. Very few pedestrians, but 16 vehicles are still waiting in line to enter Nablus and there is a long line coming from Nablus. When we pass by again at 18:00, there are almost no pedestrians and vehicles.

17:25-17:50, Beit Furiq. There are over 10 soldiers. Very few pedestrians, but a long line of vehicles coming from Nablus. Later, another checking line is opened.

Date: Thursday, 11.10.07, PM

20:04-20:15, Qalqilya. The holiday excitement is in the air. Over 25 vehicles on line to Qalqilya and an endless line coming out. The lines are moving steadily with the soldiers stopping vehicles with Israeli license plates to see if they have permits. It is such a disappointment when families without permits are refused entrance. 

Tulkarm Area

Date: Sunday, 7.10.07, PM

16:30, Anabta. 10 vehicles are waiting to enter Tulkarm and none coming out. Israeli vehicles are waved through without any check, while Palestinians taxis are often stopped and checked sporadically

17:00, Ar-Ras. Very quiet, hardly any traffic, the soldiers are friendly. 

Date: Thursday, 11.10.07, PM

14:20-15:07, Ar-Ras. A line of about 10 vehicles coming from Tulkarm. Vehicles coming from Qalqilya are not being checked. Checking is random. In general the soldiers are nervous.

15:21, Anabta. No vehicles waiting in line.

Hebron Area

 

Date: Monday AM, 8.10.07

 

 

05:00.  Tarqumiya, Still dark, a queue of about 300 workers, and slow passage. In the checking booth are 4 soldiers, but two  are sitting and eating sandwiches. When they saw us, they stopped and went to check things out.  The line began to move at the normal rate. Occasionally the soldiers stop passing trucks, and carry out sloppy inspections that would catch nothing. At the main gate also, inspections are amateurish and superficial. Every now and then the soldiers detain workers for 20 minutes for  random inspections. 3 BP stand guard around the CP without intervening, perhaps because the week before one BP intervened and caused even greater delays by"flexing his muscles".