Weekly Digest 2.12-8.12.07 | Machsomwatch
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Weekly Digest 2.12-8.12.07

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Saturday, 15 December, 2007

Bethlehem area


Tuesday AM, 4.12.07

06:30, Bethlehem CP. 4 posts open. Lines build up and then dissolve. We were told it was similar on the Palestinian side.

08:00, Ezyon DCL. Few people. 4 sought our help -- not allowed into Israel for security reasons.


Wednesday AM, 5.12.07

Bethlehem CP, 06:40. 5 checking stations open. Lines are long and crowded. They say many still waiting to enter, because 2 other CPs are closed today.

Ezyon DCL, 08:45. People already being serviced.


Wednesday PM, 5.12.07

Ezyon DCL. 15:00: 2 people emerge. One is GSS refused. The other had a permit, said he was allowed entry in spite of his being "refused" for some reason. He was doubtful whether he would be able to use this at the CPs. Another man sought a permit to accompany his brother, who has Cystic Fibrosis, to Hadassah. He had been receiving permits for many years, and Bethlehem CP, 16:00: 3 stations open -- not enough for the many people wishing to return to Bethlehem. The lines almost reach the street. A civilian guard lets the people in groups of about 10, and makes sure they line up "nicely" in two lines, leaving a decent space in between for women and children, who pass without having to wait in line. It takes 10 minutes for the men to pass. At 16:15 two more stations are opened and everybody goes through quickly. Pressure over.



A-Ram & Qalandiya Area


Monday PM, 3.12.0

13:30-18:00 - All cars checked at the exit path from Bir Nabala. Bitunia: The Palestinian prisoners released by Israel had already passed, but we found a locked gate (without any explanation) about a 100 yards before the CP.

Qalandiya: An impromptu CP had been set up on the road before the Atarot Industrial Zone, causing a 20 minute wait.Bus drivers said they had been waiting for 45 minutes for passengers they had dropped off on the other side, since every person is being bodily checked, even women, and in our community there is much shame undressing in front of strangers". Pedestrian passage northbound was uneventful until we heard some shooting and the loudspeaker announced: "Shooting at the CP, the CP is closed". A deafening alarm went off and all gatesinfo-icon were locked automatically. A mass of people pushed towards the turnstiles – those bus passengers. 10 minutes later the northbound gates opened. The number of people waiting to cross, most with blue Ids, had increased dramatically. After a wait of about an hour we were able to move into the second waiting area, with its electronic welcome message ("have a pleasant stay". An elderly British couple were appalled by the shouting and power in the hands of the young girls, who decided to close the CP for a couple of minutes as collective punishment for any tiny break of the public order, e.g., when 3 people passed instead of 2, or someone was stuck within the turnstiles. The husband, a retired physician, wants to set up a hospital in Gaza, but so far was not allowed entry. We were getting impatient, but the Palestinians, among them many students, took it in stride. We finally passed into the CP area and found the DCL closed. Only two passages were open. People had to take care themselves of the trays for purses, phones and keys, to remove coats, belts etc., present their papers, and then push the tray into the X-ray machine and past the metal detector. Some elderly women, less efficient, were shouted at by the girl soldier. A young man attempted to enter when the soldier decided that he should wait. She screamed at him to move back, but the turnstile was stuck. His grin infuriated her, and she sent him to return to the end of the queue. When he refused, she closed the passage to everyone for five minutes and then took his papers and let him wait. The police was called and he was taken inside for "further investigation". We heard loud wailing from the first passage and went to look. A woman and her young daughter were lying on the floor and crying. Her permit was for yesterday and she was denied entry. Both passages were closed, no one passed.The line grew ever longer.


Tuesday, 4.12.07, PM

Qalandiya, 15:30. A display of fireworks, celebrating the return of the prisoners! New graffiti on the Apartheid Wall. In shining blue the well known computer formula for total discharge: CTRL + ALT + DELETE 12 - 15 people came to return the gas masks of their families to army representatives, but none were present, in spite of posters designating this time and place.In order to collect masks from Jews, soldiers climbed stairs and knocked at our doors. At the first turnstiles there was quite a long line. Rush hour. A man asked us for help. He is (one of many) trying to receive family reunion. The paper which attests to it has expired. He has applied for a new one but not yet received it. His wife and children live in Jerusalem and he with them. He left Jerusalem to bid farewell to his father who lives in Ramallah and who is about to go abroad, and now cannot return. A DCL officer we called gave the authoritative answer that the Palestinian was

not entitled to enter Jerusalem before his paper was renewed. The father's disappointment and despair cannot be described.


Thursday AM, 6.12.07

06.40 Anata. Long lines, but moving. 3 women try to by pass the CP, but are being turned back again and again.

07.40 Qalandiya. Lines moved quickly. A civilian guard was walking around with a pointed gun. He explained that he felt threatened, after last week a Palestinian drew a pistol. Prisoner's families came through quickly with no apparent problems.There was a noticeable effort to ensure speedy passage of everybody.


Nablus Area


Sunday, 2.12.07, PM

15:30, Huwwara. The CP functions flawlessly. The Palestinians stand in perfect single file behind the turnstiles. We thought about the rain that was pouring there a while before we arrived, how people – unsheltered – must have been drenched on their way to reach the taxis, where the women and children could have stood, being forever banned from the only sheds in sight, how they could have protected their babies.

The water streamed generously into the detention cubicle as well and the four detaineesinfo-icon, three of them held there as punishment since 12:30 crowd upon a plank placed above the puddle that formed on the floor like a life raft. The first detainee, a thin boy, has been waiting for the GSS interrogators since 9:30 a.m. At 16:35 we complained to the army hotline about the boy waiting since morning in the cold and rain. 20 minutes later the DCL (District Coordination Office) representative on the spot reports to us that the boy is about to be handed over to the Palestinian police. Another 20 minutes go by and a Palestinian police car arrives, and takes the boy into Nablus.

The three other detainees are the drivers of two trucks caught at 12:30 while driving from the intersection towards Awarta on the road forbidden to Palestinians. They said that while turning at the intersection, there was an army vehicle standing but the soldiers did not warn them not to turn there, and having turned, were hunted down. By order of the brigade commander they are being detained for 6 hours, but the CP commander says that it's been 4 hours already and he'll let them go soon, for they're freezing and wet. At 16:03, as they are being released, one of the soldiers says: "Well, will you still drive on this road next time?... You see? Now you've learned!" And they admit that they didn't know, but really, why isn't there a sign saying it's forbidden? And why didn't the soldiers in the jeep say anything?

Beit Furiq. Few people passed quickly and were swallowed into the few taxis that were still left at the taxi park bound for Beit Furiq. Cars were passed after a short checking.


Sunday, 2.12.07, PM

14:17, Jit Junction. Coming down from Jit, we see a jeep across the road. The traffic seems to be flowing, but not in the direction of Jit. Indeed, we are told that no one is allowed to continue except for Jit residents with the proper IDs.

15:00, Beit Iba. The new renovated CP is opened; there are two turnstiles and one humanitarian line accommodating women and men over 45 years of age.We notice that the new roof is a bit short; when it rains, it will run right down on the people passing from the humanitarian line.

There are many soldiers, we count 15. They are standing around in groups of 3-4
chitchatting. They are checking thoroughly the contents of bags, emptying out everything. Few vehicles.


Tulkarm Area


Sunday, 2.12.07, PM

13:30. Qalqilya. Few vehicles waiting to enter, none coming out. There is a curfew as of a few hours previously. No one is allowed out except for a handful of pedestrians and vehicles that manage to have the right papers. Everyone is being checked

14:10, Azun. Completely closed. The cement blocks are closely lined up, no space between them, no chance of making room to get through. Everyone is safe inside.

15:50, Anabta. No line of vehicles going in, but coming out of Tulkarm is an endless line. Sporadic check of IDs and vehicles, though IDs of most of the younger men are being checked. At 16:00 there is a change of shift, the soldiers from both shifts seem to be doing their job efficiently. At Beit Iba taxi drivers tell us that there is a 3 hour wait at Anabta. timing a bus from where we could see it, it took 15 minutes for 45 vehicles to pass, but we don't know how long it took the bus to get to the point where we saw it.

17:00, Gate 753. Uneventful

Ar-Ras. There are four reservists and two women soldiers, and one dog. Two vans are pulled over, the IDs of one van are being checked, the second one has all its parcels, bags and belongings taken out and the dog is going through it all.


Tuesday, 4.12.07, AM

06:15--06:40, Qalqilya. The city of Qalqilya is partly encircled: only residents carrying an Israeli IDs and school children who study in Israel can go in and out. People with permits can enter the city only on foot, and have to leave their cars in the parking-lot outside.

06:40--07:30, villages on Road 55.

Nabi Elias is open.

Izbat at-Tabib. Has been blocked by sand embankments and boulders for many months. People make their way by clambering over them. Many of them come from Azun. Drivers leave their cars parked on the side of the road.

Azun. Reserve soldiers man the exit to Rd. 55. According to them there was some stone-throwing as well as Molotov cocktails. According to some workers waiting outside the village there is no open exit for vehicles.

Kafr Laqif. Has been blocked for the last week or so by boulders and sand embankment. Here too the people say there is no open exit for vehicles. Ambulances have to stop at the obstruction; petrol for cars inside the village is brought in jerry cans.

09:00--09:20, Anabta. Long lines of vehicles, especially coming out of Tulkarm, but checking is random. We timed the passing of 30 vehicles: 10 minutes. A van with young men is detained for 25 minutes, the IDs checked by the computer.