Weekly Digest 10.2.08-16.2.2008 | Machsomwatch
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Weekly Digest 10.2.08-16.2.2008

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Tuesday, 19 February, 2008


Bethlehem Area


 Monday PM, 11.2.08





Ezyon DCL.  Nobody waiting. 



Tantur.  2 male and 2 female BPs were completing forms for 10 detaineesinfo-icon. One soldier asked us to park elsewhere and observe from the other side of the street. A female BP told us to observe from 50 yards away, but didn't insist.  She was extremely nasty when we tried to intervene on behalf of one woman who urgently needed to get home to her children in Bethlehem and had been held up almost an hour ago. 10 minutes later all were told to proceed to Bethlehem CP for interrogation.  The mother at this point was crying. We offered to take an elderly man with bags or the mother in  our car and were rudely refused.



Bethlehem CP, 17:00.  3 windows manned. The civilian guard was efficient and even asked for an additional window to be opened. People waited no longer that 10 minutes, women and children allowed in first.  One man with an elderly woman was told to return back home to Hebron and report back  in the morning at 9:00 AM to see "Captain" S.



Tuesday AM, 12.2.08



06:30, Bethlehem CP. 5 active posts, lines long and tense. People report that it is very crowded on the Palestinian side as well. The soldiers work quietly and efficiently, but there is no way they can cope with the crowding. But by 07:15 the pressure is alleviated.



07:55, Ezyon DCL. 3 men waiting for the DCL to open. They want magnetic cards. It is rainy, windy and cold. Theyג€TMve been waiting about an hour, huddled against the wall for protection against the weather. There is no shed in front of the DCL. At 08:00, the DCL opens.



Thursday AM, 7.2.08



05:30 --07:30



Bethlehem CP, 05:30.  Opened at 05:15, 5 booths open.  Many people, but crossing is quick. Some were heading towards Bethlehem at this hour, against the traffic, abd have toi manage through the same passage. One young civilian guard is very rough, shouting at people: "Get lost!"


"You can't stand here" (to people waiting or praying under the roof, since it is raining), "You can't smoke here" (then lighting a cigarette himself!).

Abu Dis Area

Monday PM, 4.2.08


The sunny weather and wonderful visibility stood in sharp contrast to the sad sights and filth we saw all throughout the shift.



Abu Dis.  At the Gate stood 8 BPs.  No Palestinians crossing. One BP said that only 350 people are allowed to pass there.



Olives terminal.  Few people crossing, mainly women. We wanted to go to the other side, but at the entrance to Al Ezariya was a red sign forbiding Israelis from entering.



Container CP. No lines on either side. Very few cars checked. One taxi from Bethlehem was stopped, papers were examined, but soon it was sent on its way. The turnstile for the pedestrians was stuck and they all squeezed through a very narrow path next to it.



Sheikh Saed.  The newly built CP is manned by 2-3 BPs and the same number of civilian guards. We were not allowed to enter.


 A-Ram - Qalandiya Area

Monday PM, 11.2.08





A short and frustrating shift



Ar-Ram CP.  We spoke with an employee of a car dealer, located opposite the CP.  He said that the road connecting some houses on a hill across from the CP to the road to Jerusalem was blocked off a few days ago with barbed wire coils. Until then people living there could reach Jerusalem without inspection, but afterwards they had to get out via a narrow side-alley and cross the CP. The inhabitants of those buildings approached a lawyer, whereupon the barbed wire was moved away.



All traffic passed uninterrupted while we were there.



Qalandiya CP.  We parked across from the entrance to the CP. A large  new sign at the entrance states that this area falls under the PA and entry is strictly forbidden to Israelis. We left in frustration.


Thursday AM, 14.2.08


06.25 Anata. A teenage boy, his face and arm swollen, is covered with mud. The other boys tell us that the CP guards hit him.  The BP officer, just arrived, knew nothing about the incident, but seemed quite worried.Traffic is very heavy, mainly children, and the vehicle queue is very long. Checking is quite thorough, many personnel. The line moves slowly.  Suddenly 2 soldiers started chasing two young guys, but came back when they ran up the hill. Apparently the had been throwing stones.



08.15 Qalandiya CP.  Prisoners' families in the waiting area, and many people crowded at the turnstiles. One man said he was there since 6am. The magnometer that broke down last week has not been fixed yet. While we were there another also stopped working. The lines barely advanced. The pressure was unusual for that time of the day. We called the DCO, and an officer came out to help sick people and mothers with babies through the side line, but there was no relief for the "ordinary" people. The prisoners' families had to wait till there were no lines, because of the shortage of magnometers.


Nablus Area

Sunday, 10.2.08, PM

14:00, Beit Iba. Far fewer people than usual: no wonder, there is a strict curfew for all men aged 16-35 who live in the Jenin and Tulkarm areas. The men behind the turnstiles have to wait far longer than usual. The soldiers are rude.

14:15. Change of shift, but nothing gets any faster, and there continue to be about 40 men at the two turnstiles throughout the shift. It takes twenty to twenty five minutes to get through. This group of soldiers excels at talking: talking to each other and taking little notice of waiting vehicles or pedestrians. This is particularly noticeable at the vehicle checking area which now sports working traffic lights: red and green (but no yellow) and several brand new automatic "arms" which can be lifted at will to let vehicles pass, etc. The ever increasing efficiency of occupation.

15:15. As we leave, the soldiers' meals arrive. More time is taken off. And a waiting Palestinian tells us that he is forbidden to cross into Nablus: the curfew is now said to be up to age 45 (and he's 44 years old). We offer to check this ruling with the commander, but the man indicates he's fed up, "We have no country, we are all in prison all the time."

Qalquiliya  Area

Sunday, 10.2.08, PM

13:30, Jubara. At the entrance to the checkpoint, the usual police barricades. Several young men in handcuffs are sitting on the ground by the police trailer.

13:45, Junction of Routes 55 and 60. Rolling checkpoint. Four cars in line. Palestinian vehicles, particularly trucks, attempt to get across the deep ditches to make their way towards Jenin. At least one is stuck.

15:30. The rolling checkpoint is still in full force, and the line to go towards Anabta is quite lengthy as we make our way up to Jit, where there's no checkpoint.

On the way to Qalqilya. Lots of army materiel on the road, as well as blue police jeeps. The Shvut Ami outpost seems to be empty.

16:00, Azun. As we approach Azun we see a giant earthmover and several large army trucks. The access to the town is completely blocked by huge mounds of earth. Azun is under curfew.

16:10, Qalqilya. A long line of vehicles, at least 25, going in the direction of Qalqilya, but hardly any leaving. Five reservists are manning the checkpoint and, as is usual here, there's random checkinginfo-icon

16:30, Habla (on the seam line). It's still half an hour to opening time of the gate, but already men, women, horses and carts and cars, as well as shepherds, goats and sheep have gathered to wait to go home. Many get off work at 3:00, so have to wait two hours until the Occupier deigns to open the gate for people to pass from their own fields to their own homes on the other side of the separation barrier.

Hebron Area

Sunday AM, 10.2.08


07:00- 10:30



07:00, Sansana CP.  200 people waiting. There doesn't seem to be any movement. Some say they've been waiting for 20 minutes and some say 1.5 hours. Then miraculously the queue began to move, and within 25 minutes, the CP is clear.  The workers complain that they cannot pass work tools through the CP.  The CO said that the rules are that the workers were supposed to pass their tools during the first month of the civil operation of the CP and leave them in Israel. One person is required to leave behind a plastic bottle with olive oil, making it hardly worth it for him to cross and work at the pay he's getting.  Two others are turned around because they don't have a permit. The voice of the security inspector inside the facility can be heard  all over the area ג€" unpleasant and degrading.



07:35.  Soldiers open the side gate beside the revolving gate to go buy falafel. As a result, the first revolving gate stops working and one worker stays trapped inside until we intervene. Two people tell us that their permits have been taken without any explanation, and they've been ordered to the GSS to retrieve them. One has been at the GSS offices 3 times already and has yet to get his back.



The bypass road to Ramadin was closed about a week ago, and taxis are prohibited from getting near. People get to the CP by foot through the mountains.



Sheep Junction.  The taxi drivers tell us that soldiers break the windows of their vehicles if they dare get too close  to the barricade.  Another original form of punishment is to sit the drivers down in the mud with their eyes covered.