You Cannot Cover an Elephant’s Carcass with a Lotus Leaf / traditional Thai saying | Machsomwatch
אורנית, מהצד הזה של הגדר

You Cannot Cover an Elephant’s Carcass with a Lotus Leaf / traditional Thai saying

In the photo: an erect, watchful ‘pillbox’ army post is proof of an existing checkpoint

Monitoring the tendency to remove checkpoints throughout the West Bank in recent years has shown that reality on the ground is complex and not always concurrent with the sovereign power’s declarations.

Alongside a policy of expropriating Palestinian land into the Greater Jerusalem area (fulfilling the principle of the most land with the least inhabitants) and sealing the Separation Wall and the Separation Fence along Road 443, turning Palestinian towns and villages into ghettos and enclaves – checkpoints have finished their ‘job’ and vanished.
See here

Dismantling checkpoints, explained as a humanitarian gesture towards the American administration or the Palestinian Authority, is a long-term interest of the political system. Seeing in it any will to make Palestinians’ lives less unbearable would be a mistake.

Deep inside the West Bank areas at present there are two types of non checkpoints, that have changed their purpose and definition but not their essence:
a.    Frozen checkpoints: these are unmanned and movement through them is unhampered, but the pillbox (tower) and surrounding compound are in place as a strongly present visible threat. To all appearances these checkpoints are dormant and non-functioning, but in fact they serve as a stick-and-carrot signal to the Palestinian population. At any given moment they might serve again as a means of collective punishment, if and when individuals resort to violence against Jewish settlers living in the region, or produce terrorist attacks – within a very short time the checkpoint is manned again and back to its notorious function, and tens of thousands of people unconnected with the events are impacted once again.

Beit Furik Checkpoint – no soldiers in sight (in tower). For the full report, see here.

07:40 Beit Furik Checkpoint: No army presence seen, traffic moving unhampered.
For the full report, see here.

Beit Furik Checkpoint – Two soldiers manning the checkpoint. They stop and question us: Who are you? Do you have a permit to be here? The soldiers contact the DCO and ask for our IDs… To our question since when the checkpoint is manned again, we learn it is since Sunday.
For the full report, see here.

Naturally, there is no comparable response by the army  to violence and terror exerted by the settlers upon the Palestinians.

The Jewish settlers claim there are four graves holy to Jews inside this village. Before they arrive for prayers, the army declares them a closed military zone. They arrive black paint cans and spray "Death to Arabs" on house walls. On their way back they throw stones, smashing house and vehicle windows, and break headstones inside the Muslim cemetery through which they pass.
For the full report, see here

b.    Checkpoints-in-waiting: Structures and soldiers are all in place, electric lights bright in broad daylight as well, traffic usually moving through them unhampered, but from time to time the soldiers emerge from the pillbox post, spread their checking post and halt vehicles to inspect IDs and permits. In army lingo it is called 'breaking the routine', or 'show of presence', or deterring action upon orders. At times, long and boring shifts arouse the soldiers into extra creativity, as described in this video.

At Atara Checkpoint no inspections are carried out and all cars, both Palestinian and Israeli-license-plated ones move through in both directions. Soldiers man the tower and peer through its windows.

Huwwara  Checkpoint – movement in both directions is unchecked. From afar the area seems empty of soldiers but upon our approach three soldiers appear and come to us. To our question they reply that in another 15 minutes they will begin their random check of vehicles on the spot.
For the full report, see here.

Huwwara Checkpoint – The soldiers are inside the tower. Today for the first time we see a high cement-plate wall around the small container, topped by barbed wire. To protect the soldiers? Hide detaineesinfo-icon?
For the full report, see here

We went to document checkpoints that have been removed:
Rimonim Checkpoint:
from road 60, turning right towards Maale Michmash settlement, we found what we were looking for, the remains of a checkpoint. The road was open to traffic, movement unhampered by inspections. Plastic parts that serve to block the road were pushed aside. Only the structures are still intact and the Israeli flag proudly unfurled. When the camerainfo-icon turned towards the pillbox post, signs of life appeared: a hand waved through the window and a man's voice bellowed: "Hey you, down with that camera!"

Atara- Bir Zeit Checkpoint:  Here the army was less invisible and there was no need to raise our eyes towards the tower to notice its presence: between the walls of the permanent checkpoint structure, an army vehicle was parked hidden, and soldiers peered at us through the crack between their vehicle and the wall.
Is there a checkpoint? Is there no checkpoint? How long – this time – will this "no checkpoint" last?
For the full report, see here.

Farewell to the Nablus Checkpoints… really?!

Following all the publicity about the Israeli army's redeployment in the Nablus area checkpoints, we ventured to see with our own eyes whether our duties there were indeed a thing of the past. The answer lies in the eyes of the beholder… The checkpoints around Nablus to the west are indeed unmanned and the Palestinians pass unhampered. However, all the structures are intact and within minutes, the clock can easily be turned back.
For the full report, see here.

For the false presentation of no checkpoints the laundered language of army and soldiers has been recruited as well. In deep conviction they claim that these are no longer checkpoints but rather 'army posts', 'inspection points', 'barriers' – everything but 'checkpoints'.

"This is not a checkpoint, only a point of inspection" said the soldier who tried to distance us.
For the full report, see here.

The checkpoints deep inside the West Bank and along the Separation Fence are a tool to control the lives of the Palestinian residents. They monitor the movement of pedestrian and vehicular traffic as well as livestock, hamper it and limit mobility. All these are vested interests par excellence of the Jewish settlers.

The checkpoints-in-waiting as well as the frozen checkpoints serve as a fishing net to curb attempts of popular or organized resistance: if and when thousands of Palestinians march towards the Green Line, within minutes dozens of pillbox towers would be manned to contain them through barriers and crowd-dispersal devices, block access to the larger Palestinian cities, and re-instate fragmentation of the entire region.

After four decades of struggle and bloodshed, constant attempts to subdue the neighboring nation's spirit through exertion of force and draconian bureaucracy, as the facts show that all these attempts have been pointless, and before the sky darkens with renewed violence throughout, one must read the writing on the wall, face disaster, and begin to salvage what remains, recognize the right of 'the others' to master their own destiny and follow the wisdom of braving change before disaster strikes in the spirit of Ben Aharon, rather than pursuing the Revisionists' anthem with blood and sweat we shall erect our race, genius, kind and vicious in the spirit of Jabotinsky – which has been leading us to the brink of a fatal abyss.


Written and photographed by Tamar Fleischmann

Tanslated by Tal Haran