'Azzun 'Atma, Tue 13.5.08, Afternoon
We get to the entrance of the village from the road to Shaarei Tikva,
park the car at the side of the road and go to the parking area and
immediately G. recognizes us and takes us to the checkpoint.
Only a few cars in either direction and a police van, 2 detainees, some
soldiers and a representative of the DCO, Abas. We stand next to the
cement blocks where the line is where people wait until called by the
soldier. From there one can see well but cannot see what is
happening. But one cannot see inside the cars waiting at the entrance
to the village. We go nearer and want to speak to those detained (one
of them sits in front of the police jeep and once at the back). The
policeman tells us to withdraw and that it is forbidden for us to be
there. And this is the law as he knows is for many years and no army
decree if of interest to him. I have decided that in future I will take
the relevant army order which states that any citizen of Israel or
tourists have the right to be in the seamline zone. One detainee is
freed and it seems that he is a truck driver whom the soldiers and
police say has no license for his truck and so will not let him leave
Azun Etma. The second detainee is put on to the jeep and we are told
that he is suspected of forging in ID. The DCO representative leaves as
soon as the police van (220410) leaves with the detainee. We go to the
other side of the checkpoint to the entrance to the village.
Immediately a soldier is sent to tell us that we cannot be here
because it is a "red area." (This is area C and we often come to this
side of the checkpoint. But we do not insist and go back to the other
side (where we have also been told today that we are not allowed to be
young woman with her baby daughter and accompanied by her mother enters
the villages and goes through the checking room where the x-ray device
is. Cars leaving the village for the occupied areas are usually not
checked. Vans with workers are checked. Permits and IDs. Again the
mother with the baby goes through. We do not know if everyone going
through the room has to pass the x-ray device because we are not
allowed to go nearer.
change in shift and the checking is stopped for a few minutes and some
cars and pedestrians arrive. All those leaving the village for the
occupied areas are told to strip and turn around and this includes the
older men. But those leaving by car only have their IDs checked. Where
is the sense in this. Had to know. This method of checking is
humiliating. Security? The height of stupidity is soon revealed. A car
enters the village with a mother, father and baby and at the back some
more small children. Who has to get out and by checked by the x-ray
device? The mother of course who has to leave the baby n the car.
cars are now exiting and the checking is continuous accompanied by
rudeness and shouting on the part of the soldiers. While we were there
a visit of commanders took place and it seemed that one commander was
handing over to the other. S. was not the commander that day.
We get a lift with a resident of the village who knows me from previous
visits and he takes us to the home of J. who had been beaten until he
lost consciousness a few days ago by S., the commander who had two
soldiers helping him. This beating was premeditated by the soldiers as
revenge for something that had happened the previous day with the then
commander. The commander had been helped by the two soldiers to beat
him until he was unconscious and this for half an hour. He had been
put on oxygen and liquids by the ambulance staff which had arrived to
take him away and had lain on the road for 15 minutes until the
commander had allowed the ambulance to leave for Qalqiliya. Because of
one of the blows to the head which was evidently from a rifle butt and
also a kick he had been taken to the hospital in Nablus.
One had to see
the complete report of the hospital. He freed himself on the
third day to come home. We took his evidence and that of witnesses who
had seen what was happening and his brother had photographed his body
and the beating it had received. We will give this to "Yesh Din"
together with the photos and also a photograph I had taken of commander
S. on another day when he had beaten another man and of which there is
a report of this violent episode on Saturday 3.5.2008.
19.45 Back to the car park and to the road to Shaarei Tikvah.