'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Azzun, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Sun 27.4.08, Afternoon
The terms "behavior" and "conduct" are closely related. Both deal with
a person's actions. The former is something we see or hear, and the
latter has a normative attribute, taking on expectations of a social,
sometimes of a moral kind. Today, we saw behavior of soldiers at
checkpoints that was both dreadful and unacceptable, soldiers who
behaved exceedingly "badly." Their conduct lacked all manner of
civility, respect or compassion. These soldiers of the Occupation
displayed nothing but rude, offensive and merciless behavior.
13: 30 Habla
The gate is closed, as expected. Omar, the nursery owner, tells us
ruefully that his permit is renewed but without a car (and that after
much discussion): the merciless behavior of Occupation over licenses
and permits for every little matter.
There is no line into Qalqiliya, but a long, long line of vehicles,
well over 20, trying to exit. The three soldiers in the checkpoint are
more intent on "schmoozing" than on facilitating passage. At the other
checkpoint, two soldiers are joined by a policeman in "blue" A
civilian police jeep stands on the side with another two police. It is
the policeman who questions drivers trying to enter Qalqiliya as to
where they've come from: the soldiers stand around, and one -- the
commander, a major -- wanders over to us to "explain" that "closure"
can never take place at this checkpoint since it is not an entry way
into Israel. Innocently, we ask as to why there is such a long line of
vehicles exiting Qalqiliya and waiting to be checked. The mumbled
reply includes something about, "we don't check every vehicle" and
14:05 -- the woman driver of an Israeli licensed car, a Palestinian
Israeli, is stopped trying to enter Qalqiliya, leaves her car and goes
over to the police jeep. She's there a long time.
14:15 -- on enquiry, we learn she and her daughter were not wearing
No people, no vehicles, just the huge, by now well known, earth mound
and coils of razor wire, barring entry and exit to the town.
Shvut Ami (outpost)
No sign of life or activity, but certainly not abandoned.
A "STOP" has been painted on one of the red plastic barriers by the
checkpoint, but there's no line going into Tulkarm, so today, it's not
relevant. On the other hand, from Tulkarm, there are 15 large trucks,
a variety of yellow taxis and private cars, many of them bearing
yellow Israeli license plates. Again, as we saw at Qalqiliya, a group
of three soldiers at one of the checkpoints is more intent on
"schmoozing" than calling vehicles to be checked. Many pass without
being checked at all, others are peered into in a cursory manner. The
line stays as long at the end of our time as it was when we arrived.
16:40 -- the lone soldier on duty at the checkpoint going into Tulkarm
stops a bus, and he peers in.
A long line of vehicles waiting to get into Israel proper, at least
25, but we follow a settler car and pass through a lane where the
soldier recognizes MachsomWatch, and promises to open the gate for us.
We wait for at least seven minutes until he wanders over, and opens
the gate, politely. End of good manners…. until our return to Jubara
when we wait less time but are again treated to good manners.
17: 10 Gate 753
Four soldiers, including one military policeman. A station wagon,
coming into Jubara, has its truck thoroughly checked by two soldiers.
Two young men sitting on the ground, in the strong sunshine, one with
a bleeding eye needing urgent medical attention. Apparently an
accident while working with ceramics in the village. Although the
soldiers indicate that he'll be able to leave the village and cross
the separation roadway when the police come, they give no indication
as to when, and proceed, even before their information is proffered to
talk to us in a jeering, half joking manner (including the cookies
spiel). This group seems to glory in its power. Each ID and permit is
thoroughly looked at and compared to the pieces of paper on hand,
neatly lined up on the boulder at the side of the dirt roadway. One
tells us that though he is the commander, the Ar-Ras commander can do
something (this we already know), so we tell them we are heading
there, and will be back.
Here, A., the commander is at first nowhere in sight. He's called by
his men on duty at the not very busy checkpoint, from behind the
concrete wall, beneath the netting, probably asleep. He emerges,
putting his communication equipment to work, but makes it very clear
that not only will he do nothing about the young man and his injury,
but that he's not the slightest bit interested. "I don't need to
know." He makes it clear that we are dismissed, but more horrifying is
the thought that a young man who may well have permanent damage to one
eye counts not one iota in this soldier's scale of values… He refuses
to look into our complaint, refuses to give his name (which we've
heard from his men).
17:45 Gate 753
The "balagan" (commotion, mess) is greater than before. There are now
three vehicles in front of us, waiting to cross the separation barrier
security road, a tractor behind us. People are checked, trunks are
checked, and, amazing to behold, there is a tender plus a private car
parked on the separation barrier roadway. For what? The soldiers, in
their wisdom, have decided that the tender, which bears a vine, needs
to be checked to see if there is an authorization to "carry a vine
from one area to another." The car has some electronic equipment and
the same procedure (newly invented here) is being followed. There is a
build up of people, of pedestrians and vehicles, and the soldiers
laugh amongst themselves, are rude to passing pedestrians (and, but
less important, to us).
Tami (MachsomWatcher who deals, from home, with problems in the field
in this area) has been called, has been told that the young man with
the eye injury has no ID. From him, (he's of course still sitting,
still bleeding from his eye) we learn that, in fact, he handed his ID
to the soldiers over an hour and a half ago. Either somebody lied, or
there is confusion with the other, healthy young man who only had a
photo of an ID.