Friday, 4 April, 2008
Sunday AM, 9.3.08
07:00 Bethlehem: Sign of today's closure are easy to see. No workers on the roadside and no minibuses or employers around. At the CP only one booth open, and almost no work for it. Many security personnel. Those crossing are all humanitarian cases, and though few, it takes half an hour to cross.
08:00 Ezyon: Quiet and hazy. A GSS denied man who is petitioning the High Court comes to sign documents. 2 employers are spotted cursing. They leave the DCL with rapid steps, their employees running after them trying to figure out what will happen to them now. It gives one the shivers to watch the scene.
Tuesday, 11.3.08, AM
06:30, Bethlehem CP. 6 posts functioning. Crowded, but things were not as bad as in previous weeks. Alleviated on both sides at around 07:30.
08:15, Ezyon DCL. Empty.
Wednesday PM, 13.3.08
Ezyon DCL, 16:00. The DCL supervision unit confiscated a couple of trucks and other mechanicalequipment from a Beit Umar resident who kept his garage equipment on route 60. They deamnded that he "clean up the area" from all his stuff, and would then get the confiscated things back. He did. He has been coming again and again to the DCL for his belongings, and has been told again and again: "Come tomorrow". We intervened on his behalf. The outcome? "Tell him to come tomorrow".
Bethlehem CP, 16:45. No queue, people pour out of the transits, and rush through, it only takes minutes.
Abu Dis Area
Monday AM, 10.3.08
Container CP. A number of shuttle taxies waiting for the ID cards of their passengers to be returned. 9 detained men in the soldiers' station, some, apparently, for up to 2 hours.
Wednesday PM, 12.3.08
Container CP, 15:00: Long queues in both directions. However, soon after the lines dwindled considerably and most cars were waved through. 2 detainees are released within a few minutes of our arrival. A woman down the road is speaking to one of the BP agitatedly. She is forcefully escorted to the pen. Apparently her son-in-law is incarcerated in the locked booth next to the pen. She would not adhere to orders to stay put in the car, therefore the punitive measure. Every now and then cabs and cars are randomly stopped for a check. It usually takes a few minutes.
!5:40: Pedestrians arrive in large groups, their IDs checked and their plastic bags opened. Meanwhile, a long queue of vehicles has formed. Why? One driver threw his cigarette butt out of the car. He is ordered to get out and pick it up. Another driver is instructed to reverse because he came too close to the checking point by some 5 meters. This too slows things down.
15:45: Some 50 pedestrians are crowded in front of the turnstile which has not been opened. When it does, they go thru quickly. The woman and her son in law are released, as arbitrarily as they were detained. A white car has been waiting for over 20 minutes. We are forbidden to talk to the passengers.
16:00: The white detained car is joined by another. 10 minutes later both cars are allowed to go on their way.
16:20: An ambulance from Ramallah transfers a patient into an ambulance from Bethlehem.
Monday AM, 10.3.08
06:50 Anata CP. Voluminous traffic. Hundreds of schoolchildren, and people with blue IDs, none with green. The garbage piles are staggering. A large number of BP check the cars fast.
Monday PM, 10.3.08 , 14:00-17:30
Anata. Hundreds of schoolchildren pouring out of busses, many near-accident situations, because cars ignore them as they walk the long way home.
Atara. Quite a long line of cars in both directions, but shortly the lines had been reduced. Drivers waved at us and begged us to return every day. Occasionally a yellow cab was stopped, trunk and documents inspected. Usually within 5 minutes the car was sent on its way.
Thursday AM, 13.3.08
06.40 Anata: A HUGE line of cars, honking desperately. About 10 soldiers and civil security people altogether. Every car is being checked. Pedestrian passage is smooth.
07. 20 Ar-Ram: Smooth passage. No car queues in either direction. Pupils' schoolbags are checked.
07.40 Qalandiya. Hell. Only one turnstile working. They keep breaking down, apparently. The crowd is quite large, and when the turnstile opens, people push to get ahead, and climb over the turnstile. It took 35 (!) minutes to get through the external turnstile. The line for women and students opened quite regularly. Many prisoners' families came and apparently will be let through only after the crowd dwindles, an hour later.
Sunday, 9.3.08, PM
14:00, Jit Junction. No checkpoint at this hour.
14:10, Deir Sharaf. A woman tells us that the day before, at around 2:30 in the afternoon, about 15 jeeps tore along the dirt road and stopped by her house. About 30 or more soldiers proceeded to order all the neighbors, from the surrounding ten houses, to assemble in her courtyard, relieved everybody of their phones, and proceeded to run amok. We went into three of the houses that were wrecked. Cupboards turned over and bedding strewn all over the floor, furniture, including sofas, stuffed chairs and tables, torn apart, walls covered with soot from smoke bombs, a computer destroyed, money stolen. Apparently, the jeeps and soldiers’ arrival were a result of three young students being accosted on the main road, coming from Beit Iba. They were stopped on the main road by soldiers, demanding to know where they lived. The three friends were taken away by the soldiers, and, of course, it is not known where.
14:45, Beit Iba. About three dozen men in the regular checking lines. A lot of soldiers. As we arrive, a young man is led to the detention compound.
A., the commander, comes to where we’re standing, “That’s the area of the checkpoint. You can’t stand there.” We insist that this is where we always stand. Without further ado, he closes the checkpoint. As we move back from the checkpoint it is once again opened. The entire incident takes but a few minutes.
15:10. It’s hard to see, from our vantage point, how many vehicles are in the line to exit Nablus, not many.
A final note: during this shift, we phoned the Humanitarian Center to find out about “closure” in the OPT today. We got no straight answers at all as to where there was closure, or if there was closure.
Sunday, 9.3.08, PM
12:40, Habla. A Palestinian Israeli family, innumerable packages and two hot and impatient children arrive at the agricultural gate, hoping to visit family on the other side. The commander, taking his time to call in the ID numbers of the Israeli family eventually tells them that the “list” on which their names may appear is not with him, but at another crossing point, with which there is no “connection.” It’s nearing closing time, and he is anxious to get rid of problems before he begins closing the gate at 12:59. So no family visit.
12: 55, Qalqilya. Not much traffic in either direction.
13:30, Azun. A Palestine Red Crescent ambulance enters what was once the access road to the town, stops, and a father and little girl emerge. They wander round the edge of the mountains of earth, the tangles of barbed wire and wind their way carefully homewards.
17:00, Anabta. Little traffic. Israeli cars pass freely. No line to Tulkarm; from the city, only seven. A yellow taxi is stopped, all IDs taken from the men inside, checked by the commander inside the military tower, an operation that takes three minutes. Taxi drivers waiting for passengers, in their usual parking spot, tell us that today, at 14:00, a jeep came to tell them that they could no longer stand where they do (meaning, of course, that their livelihoods would be wrecked).
17:30, Jubara. No traffic from the OPT trying to enter Israel.
17:35, Gate 753. Four-six pedestrians. Checking is slow.
17:40, Ar-Ras. Little traffic. IDs of passengers are checked in cursory fashion.
Sunday AM, 9.3.08, 06.45-09.30
Meitar CP. Deserted, due to the closure since last Friday following the Yeshiva massacre.
Dura El Pawar. Open both ways, many cars crossing.
Sheep J. Pedestrians on their way to Hebron
Shiyuch, Sair. Closed and deserted
Road 60: Many children along the road, on their way to school.
Hebron: New graffit on the closed doors of the shops, calling for revenge and death to the Arabs. Jeeps with armed soldiers secure the junctions toward Abraham Mosque. Only few international volunteers around, and some children going to school through the Pharmacy and Tarpat CPs. Down from Abraham Mosque, a detainee caught by the BP was checked and released when we stopped to watch.
Halhul east. Open.
Thursday AM, 13.3.08 05:45. Tarqumiya - Some 700 workers in the line, which extended beyond the covered area. Workers said they had been there about an hour, and that the crowding resulted from other CPs being closed. Today was not cold, and it gets light earlier in the morning, which helps. 4 positions open, 2 on each side. We counted 23 workers passing per minute. When at some point, a new station suddenly opened, all were pleased. By 06:50 the covered area was almost empty.