'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Azzun, Jit, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Thu 20.3.08, Afternoon
13:40 Ras Tira
A number of soldiers are standing at a gate in the separation fence. They check all the 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. From a distance, we can see that the army has set up a flying CP on the road leading to Izbat Saliman. The soldiers check the cars from one direction at a time- seven cars are waiting to be checked.
A huge Israeli flag is on display above the soldiers' heads. 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. Their shirts read 'follow me- young leadership training'.
The people who wish to enter or exit Qalqilya are subject to a short interrogation and examination of facial features before they are let through.
The entrance to Azzun 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
The CP is unmanned, but the apparatus is there to be used whenever the army decides.
10 cars from the direction of Tul Karem and 7 from the other direction. One of the cars doesn't stop far enough from the soldier, so he thinks. The soldier reprimands the man, who speaks no Hebrew, and so begins to drive in reverse. The soldier calls him back but gives not up this coaching opportunity and continues preaching to the non comprehending driver.
The soldiers say we must wait for 10 minutes until they open the gate for us, for security reasons. We note no activity around the gate. Five minutes later comes a solider with a key.
The children's gate
Seven men of different ages sit by the side of the road with many bags and packages. These are work seekers upon their return from Israel; 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). One of the women speaks no Hebrew and doesn't know her number. The soldiers tell her partner- if she doesn't understand the number in Hebrew she should ask for it in Arabic.
The owner of one of the two grocery stores in the village has some marble stairs in his van which he wishes to bring inside the village for a friend. The soldiers say he has no permit and make radio calls to find out.
The soldiers call out to the men to bring their IDs and make some more calls over the radio. We speak with the men.
"I was born into this kind of life I don't know anything else. Someone new come along every time, promising things will get better but they never do"
"No one cares about us, no country in the world, not even our leaders"
"I've spent all my money just to get a visa to go to France, I have friends there from the same village." "There's no difference I'll go over there and send my family money, just like when I go to Israel"
"I have seven children I have no choice but to sneak into Israel to get work"
"We don't return through the hills because it takes several hours and it's dangerous"
"I said to them if when we arrive at the CPs, there's a religious soldier, let me speak to him… I call them 'righteous man'"
It's getting dark. The lights at the CP are down. The soldier who has come to fix the generator arrives at the group of men sitting on the ground screaming and waving his gun. Ten centimeters away is the soldier's gun from the Palestinian man's body when he notices us- two Jewish women.
At seven PM the seven men are allowed through.
To the man still waiting in his van says the soldier-
'I've tried, there's no permit, think of something creative'
In complete darkness, at the Ar- Ras CP checking of vehicles and pedestrians continues. Five cars, a soldier aiming through the eyepiece. They light up drivers' faces with a flash light.