Weekly Digest 16.3.08-22.3.08 | Machsomwatch
אורנית, מהצד הזה של הגדר

Weekly Digest 16.3.08-22.3.08

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Friday, 4 April, 2008

Bethlehem Area

Monday PM, 17.3.08


		Hebron Road.  An impromptu CP across from Mar Elias.  4 detaineesinfo-icon had to sign the infamous forms and were sitting on the sidewalk.

		Bethlehem CP.  Very crowded. A large group of German tourists were trying to squeeze their way back into Jerusalem.  They noted that the soldiers behaved very harshly towards the Palestinians. The proceedings are extremely degrading indeed. Three civil security guards were on duty and 4 windows open. Only one hand-machine was operable. A female soldier was on the phone constantly,   meanwhile slowly checking documents and signaling with the well-known hand-movement. The wait was never over 10 minutes.
		Tuesday, 18.3.08, AM
		06:30, Bethlehem CP. 5 posts open. Lines long   and crowded, but passage orderly. Then, one of the computers stopped functioning. Without explanation, the post was closed, resulting in havoc, as
	people from this line tried to squeeze into the neighboring line. People were fighting desperately for a place. When another post closed, too, for 5-10 minutes, things got almost out of control. Shouts of angry Palestinians mingled with the bellowings of policemen and soldiers. The DCL rep. appeared all of a sudden, smiling and  optimistic, drinking Cola. He asked us what the problem was, as if the problem were ours.  He insisted that he himself has to stand in line now and again, so what is the big deal. Then he sat down on one of the decorative plant-less plant containers, used as a trash bin, drank his Cola and looked quite contented. 
		The computer was revived some 30 minutes later, and a 6th post opened.  Pressure alleviated at 07:45, and by 8am the CP was clear on both sides.
		Wednesday AM, 19.3.08
		06:45 Bethlehem CP. Closureinfo-icon.  Just a trickle of people entering. One works with the WAQF, others at churches.  They report no queue at the entrance.
		08:15 Nebi Yunis.  A 40 year old bus driver tells us he has been refused a magnetic card twice for no reason.  On his 3rd attempt he was told that since he drives in the Hebron area he has no
		need for the card.  However, he does travel sometimes to Nablus.  He was told to get such an affidavit from the bus company and reapply.
		08:45 DCL Ezyon.  A handful  of men coming and going.  A young man who was caught 3 times in   Jerusalem without a magnetic card is waiting patiently for a GSS interrogation.

		Wednesday PM,19.3.08
		14.15  DCL Ezyon. Deserted except for 2 men.  The younger, 19 years old, had arrived at 8 am for a GSS interview.  They took his ID and told him it would be returned during the day.  It hadn't yet.  The other man is Palestinian and his wife is Israeli. He is 40 years old, and father of 5. He showed us documentation from the Civil Administration allowing him to stay in Israel with his wife on condition that he   has no debts. He also had documentation to show that he was debt free.  Still, he could not obtain
	a pass. We will try to help.
		16.40  The DCL closed at 4pm today, due to the Purim holiday. 2 men urgently needed passes to visit a very sick relative in hospital in Jerusalem, but they did not   obtain them.
		17.00  The young man's ID was returned.
		17.20 Bethlehem CP. Because of Purim holiday, closure in the territories. Only one booth open, but hardly any people.

Abu Dis Area

		Monday AM, 17.3.08
		08:00 Container CP. All smooth, no detainees.  Some cars are being checked and that's it.  
		Monday PM, 17.3.08
		Shiekh   Saed, 14::-15:00.  A day after the riots, Jebel Mukabar looked like a ghost town. A few BP jeeps at the top near the Haas Promenade. Many soldiers at the CP. The sterileinfo-icon area at the bottom is now lined with coiled barbed wire, the 'scooter ambulance' has its own reserved spot. The few yards near the CP where no parking is allowed has been newly paved (inclduing a road-bump), and white arrows direct traffic.  We were told to remain outside the police fences initially.  A bus driver told us that following High Court decision, cars will soon be allowed into the village, hence the improved road with   arrows and traffic light -- all in the midst of the rubble.
		Tuesday PM, 18.3.08
		Container CP.  Very few vehicles in either direction, no cars stopped for inspection, few workers returning home. Very quiet.
		Wednesday PM, 19.3.08
		16:00, Container CP. We expected to see little traffic, because of the closure imposed for the Purim holiday. But the CP looked much as usual. An inquiry revealed that the closure applies to Jerusalem, but not   to Ma'ale Adumim. Workers entering through the Container CP must take a very roundabout route to
	their destination. The soldiers were friendly enough, and traffic moved in spurts, but still quite rapidly.
		Olives terminal: Here the closure is felt more, as this is a passage to Western Jerusalem proper. The soldiers said no workers passed today, only emergencies and humanitarian cases.

A-Ram – Qalandiya Area

		Monday AM, 17.3.08
		06:45 Anata.  Traffic is  massive , mostly workers. Some elderly women lacking proper papers are   sent back. The 2 officers on duty are pleasant and keep all calm.  One BP  who got nervous when a 6 year old touched his  gun  was immediately calmed down by them,  All runs fast and uneventful, despite last nights' wild attacks in Jabel  Mukaber. 
		Tuesday PM, 18.3.08
		Anata.  Quiet and uneventful. Large force of various security personnel.  Everything moved quickly in both directions.  Few schoolchildren passing through.
		Thursday AM, 20.3.08
		Purim weekend - closure for under 30s.
		06.20 Anata  Few pedestrians, but many cars.  All trunks checked. No schoolchildren or schoolbuses -- school holiday.
		07.00  Qalandiya.  Fewer   cars than usual in the carpark. Again only 2 carousels
	operating. People waiting outside are particularly tense and all bunch up, some trying to climb up over the fence.  The men are not even willing to allow women to the head of the queue. In the last 4 weeks the situation in the CP has worsened considerably. A large group of people was waiting to pass through the special gate for women and teachers etc., but it took our intervention for the gate to be opened, 10 minutes later. But later when there were a number of women waiting there again, they wouldn't open the gate again. All 5 gatesinfo-icon were open, but processing seemed slow, through no fault of the soldier, who was sensible and kind. One woman was struggling with a crying babyinfo-icon at gate 5 for almost an hour. It turned out that she was waiting for the DCL to open.  It didn't open  on time   (8:30), but did finally open at 8:45. A few minutes afte 8
	there was no crowd at the carousels, but when we left at 9 only 2 gates were open and there was again a line of people waiting at the carousels..

Nablus Area
Sunday, 16.3.08, PM

14:10, Jit Junction. No checkpoint.
15:24, Beit Iba. All the lines (the 2 turnstiles and the Humanitarian line) are crowded and long. People complain that they are waiting for 2 hours. The soldiers are shouting.
At the vehicle post there are many soldiers, and several of them are standing around in small groups talking and laughing and taking their time, which they have plenty of. Men under 35 are being removed from buses and sent to the end of the pedestrian queue to be checked.
15:35, Jit Junction. Army is present. 5 vehicles coming up from Beit Iba are waiting in line.
Tuesday, 18.3.08, AM
Jit Junction. Unmanned.
07:25--09:00, Beit Iba. Most passers are students. All young men entering Nablus pass a thorough ID check.
Vehicles, both entering and exiting the city, are checked thoroughly as well. This applies to hand-carts and donkey-carts as well, coming in or out. Everybody has to go on foot: an octogenarian who can hardly walk or many mothers carrying tiny babies in their arms (apparently there is some kind of clinic today).
Thursday, 20.3.08 PM
14:51, Beit Iba. The porters come to speak with us when we arrive. The soldiers won't let them bring through vegetables and oil as they usually do.
Two men are detained in the compound. After we arrive, the CP commander orders one to be released. The other tells us he was caught sitting in a car far from the CP and the soldiers claim he was trying to bypass the CP.
Next to the CP there is a truck. The passengers and driver have been there for three hours because when one of the soldiers told them to turn the truck in its place they accidentally made a dent in one of the small plastic polls that are there. The soldiers have called the police. A soldier makes a 50 year old man go back and shut a gate in the fence which the man didn't even know he was supposed to shut.
People call us from the Tiasir CP to say that no cars have been let through for the last two and a half hours.
16:10. A young man is detained. They check the his bags, making him place all the items on the dusty ground and then push him into the compound.
Today even the women and the elderly going into Nablus are being checked, but the soldier in charge has a short attention span, so he wanders off, only returning to yell at the people who didn't realize they were supposed to stop and wait in the first place.
The police arrive and after taking down the soldiers' account and the Palestinians' IDs, let the people go. The soldier tries to convince the officer that the offence was grave.
16:35. As we left, the detainee was still in the compound.
We stopped at Dir Sharaf to visit a friend who showed us photos of the vandalism done to his sister's house by soldier invaders last week. Such events occur daily, still, I recommend that anyone reading this report look at these photos, available on our website. His sister will not complain because she's afraid. The people kidnapped by the soldiers were released three days later.
Qalqiliya Area
Sunday, 16.3.08, PM
13:20, Qalqilya. No vehicles entering Qalqilya, a few coming from the city. Palestinian vehicles are mostly being waved in with little or no check. Israeli cars are being checked.

14:00, Azun. Closed.
Tuesday, 18.3.08, AM
06:40--07:10, Qalqilya. Vehicles (Authority plates only) come in and out of the city almost without checking. No lines form.
Azun. The sand piles and boulders are still there.
09:15--09:30, Anabta. Vehicles pass without checking. Near the pillbox a military jeep is parked. A pedestrian student is summoned to what seems like a hush-hush conversation. An attempt to enlist him to something such as we've witnessed in the past? After a few minutes he is sent away.
09:40--10:30, Jubara & Ar-Ras. All is quiet. At gate 735 (former Children's Gate), hardly any vehicles pass.
Thursday, 20.3.08, PM
13:40, Ras Tire. Soldiers are standing at a gate in the separation fence checking people who wish to pass through. Right now these are three children on a donkey and cart. The soldiers tell us the gate is closed every day between 6:30 PM to 6:30 AM. During the day only residents of the adjoining villages and people who hold special permits are allowed through.
14:05, Qalqilya. Three young people arrive in carnival masks and make up and hand the soldiers huge bags of candy for 'Purim', the male has a real gun. The people who wish to enter or exit Qalqilya are subject to a short interrogation.
Azun. The entrance is still blocked with razor wire and dirt mounds.
Signs by the side of the road:
Hebrew labor and Jewish shopping - the times call for it!
We've had enough of contempt - legal aid for Jews against the legal system
At the end of the mourning period we'll rise and do the deed…destroy the terrorist's house!
14:40, Jit junction. Unmanned.
17:27, Anabta. 10 cars coming from Tulkarm, 7 from the other direction. One of the cars doesn't stop far enough from the soldier, so he thinks.
17:47, Jubara. No activity around the gate.
The children's gate. Seven work seekers upon their return from Israel sit by the side of the road with many bags and packages. They have been here for half an hour. People who wish to enter the village are registered on a piece of paper, and given a two digit number which they must remember to tell the soldiers upon exit (besides the routine ID check). The soldiers call out to the men to bring their IDs and make some calls over the radio. At seven PM the men are allowed through.
Ar-Ras. Checking of vehicles and pedestrians is done in complete darkness. The soldiers light up drivers' faces with a flash light.
Hebron Area

		Sunday AM,
		Meitar-Sansana.  A long queue.  Passage from the end of the queue through the CP took about 30 minutes. The Palestinians said this slow pace was due to our presence.  One man showed us his permit to be in Israel issued by the Ministry of the Interior, valid   13.3.08-13.9.08, yet was not let through.  No reason given, none known.
		Hebron, No detainees at any of the CPs. A municipal employee who came to the CP at the Patriarchs' Tomb was allowed through after leaving his ID with the soldier there, to be given back upon his return from work. We were told that this arrangement depended on the whim of the soldier.