What are they afraid of?
Imreiha-Mevo Dotan roadblock is placed from the east to Reihan roadblock on the road from Jenin. People who are making their way to Reihan roadblock and further on to the Seam Zone and to Israel are stopped there during the morning and throughout the whole day. Due to an Area Command decree, Israelis (apart for settlers from Hermesh and Mevo Dotan) are not allowed to be there, we therefore can not reach this roadblock. The roadblock has become more and more central since private civil companies began activating Rekhan roadblock, which causes a lot of difficulties. Those heading for work in the Seam Zone and in Israel are detained for about an hour at Imreiha, until they are finally allowed to go to Reihan, which opens an hour earlier. The soldiers detain out of their own personal initiative people that have permits and pass on other days without a problem. We hear about these problems from people but don't see them, and we receive this information in delay. (Summary of the northern roadblocks for June)
And why is this so? Why did they suddenly issue an Area Command decree that doesn't allow Israelis, unless they are settlers, to pass through Reihan roadblock? What are they trying to hide? And from who? Why is it forbidden to observe and who is afraid of the publication? During the last months we have witnessed a process that keeps on expanding, of soldiers trying to keep us out of the roadblocks. It starts off with ludicrous lines such as: "You are bothering us, this is my roadblock, when you are here 'they' become more impudent, we are responsible for your safety, go and stand behind the concrete blocks- cars drive through here" and so on, and it ends with a line that conceals a clear threat: "I'm talking politely with you" , meaning- " If you don't head off now I won't be so polite with you" as the master says to his servant- If you don't go we will close the roadblock and no one will pass.
We give a clear answer to these soldiers that give out the orders: You won't drive us away from the roadblock. The white lines that you paint on the roads and which you forbid us to pass won't prevent us from reporting everyday about the occupation and its injustice.
The joy of water?
The people from Salem, Deir Al Hatab, Azmut, Beit Dajan and Beit Furik have almost no water resources of their own. Most of their land and pastures are from the other side of the road that is called "Madison pivot", which they are not allowed to cross, and they have very few sheep and goats. Their herds don't know anything about bureaucracy or settlements, but they want to drink water.
There is not dispute about the fact that these lands belong to the Palestinians, but the IDF, which works in service of the settlers in Elon Moreh, won't allow them to cross the road that passes between the villages and the fields. The IDF observes the road and each time a shepherd passes it with his herd they appear with a jeep and their rifles and start beating the shepherd, there is no need to rush, the sheep know nothing about Area Command decree. A.Z. that led us through the dusty paths to the field and the well changed his address from Salem to Beit Dajan so that he can pass with his herd through the apartheid road. An army patrol caught his brother's wife on the road with the herd; they confiscated her ID and then detained her for about two and a half hours at the roadblock.
We met a shepherd that had crossed "Madison Pivot" with his herd when he was heading to the well. The soldiers fired with their guns towards him on that morning, they hit him a little (so he learns his lesson), threw him on the ground and took him and his herd back to the western side of the forbidden road. It's not the IDF's problem if the sheep have to drink. We walked with the shepherd and his herd through a thorny field that was adorned at its edges by a thin line of saffron flowers; we crossed the road and walked together to the "well". The sheep drank their water and we drank some tea in the shade.
The pumping station was constructed with the help of an American donation. S. who is in charge of the station told us about his son who was sentenced for life and is in jail in Be'er Sheva. He told us about the difficulties they encounter when they want to visit him, about the shame of pleading in the middle of the night for someone to open the Beit Furik roadblock so that they can go back home, all of this happens in spite of the Red Cross's aid. The roadblock closes at ten PM. And when the buses reach the roadblock, from a long trip back from Be'er Sheva, the soldiers immediately open fire, because honestly, what are Palestinians doing in a bus that is heading to a roadblock at ten PM?
Muhammad came as well. He also has a small herd. Two days ago, he, too, was caught placing his foot on the road, the soldiers took his ID as well and told him to pick it up from Beit Furik roadblock.
Large containers head each day from the "well", through Beit Furik roadblock, bringing water to Salem- this detour takes over half an hour. They used to get their water from Mekorot, but now most of the water is directed to Elon Moreh, so the flow of water that reaches Salem is slow and isn't sufficient. But the water isn't sufficient for the settlers of Elon Moreh either. They want more:
From east to Elon Moreh, several hundred meters away from the gate of the settlement, is a spring of water called "Kabir". It belongs to Deir Al Hatab village. There is a tube that leads the water from the spring to the village, where it is gathered in a small pool, this amount of water is sufficient (more or less) for the needs of the residents. Recently, the Elon Moreh settlers dug a pool of their own by the tube, they cut the tube so that the water ran to their pool, that way their kids have something to do during their vacation. After the intervention of some Kibutz volunteers, the tube was fixed and the water was directed to Deir Al Hatab again, but not for long… Not long ago the tube was cut once again and now the water runs to the amusement pool of Elon Moreh. (Beit Furik, 30.6)
To the attention of the humanitarian center:
Women are confronted with a difficult problem during the morning rush hours when there is a mass of people which causes friction between them. Two men approached us asking for separate lines for women. A volunteer from the Ecumenical Accompaniers told us that she too went through the same experience. Even though there are only few women at this roadblock, something must be done to get them out of those crowded lines. (Bethlehem, 3.6)
A mass of people were standing outside. The streets were full of cars waiting for the workers. There were four regular inspection posts open in the roadblock. We heard a female soldier yelling at the people to stand one after the other. We met three Church volunteers, a Swedish, a Norwegian and a German. One of them told us that people started arriving at the roadblock at 1:00 AM; they slept on old newspapers outside of the roadblock all night long, so to make sure that they will be there when the roadblock opens at 5:00 AM. The passageway leading from the entrance to the roadblock (we can never see it from within) is very narrow which causes people to crowd up. That volunteer had once injured herself when she got pushed against the wall. Some men allow women to go first, others don't even though it is custom to give women priority. She told us that on Saturday people were waiting in line to be inspected, when the soldier was amusing himself by reading a paper and arguing with those in line, saying that they didn't have to work on Saturday. After a while his commander replaced him with a different soldier. (Bethlehem, 6.6)