'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Wed 11.6.08, Morning
* We got the impression that the pressure on the Palestinians is easing.
* In violation of the guidelines, soldiers confiscate from Israeli Arabs fruit and vegetables on their return, at the Te’enim passage. The district inspector from the Office of Agriculture promised to speak with the DCO.
* Soldiers were polite to us at every CP.
06:50 – Eliyahu passage (Rd. 55): A long line of cars of settlers is waiting at the outset from the Territories. Some trucks with yellow plates are searched.
The line of the Palestinian workers is short. They are allowed to stand behind the barrier even before the checking.
07:00 – Qalqiliya CP: No lines; Random checking.
09:15 – Anabta: No lines; Random checking.
09:30 – Te’enim Passage (Rd. 557): Israeli-Arabs have complained for some time about confiscation of fruit and vegetables at the CP. We talked with the commander of the CP, and he explained that he acts according to instructions, although he couldn’t find the written order. He does not allow passing over into Israel produce from animals like eggs and meat. (On this point he acts according to the regulations, we assume.) He passes over vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes but not leafy vegetables like the herb zaatar or maluchia, although dry maluchia he lets in. His explanation: leafy maluchia one can plant and thus spread diseases. (It is a ridiculous explanation, as if one could grow parsley by planting a stalk of it.)
If he sees people that look O.K. to him he lets them pass over everything.
We asked if there are no clear written orders, how can people know what is allowed and with which vegetable they cannot pass? He answered that they all know perfectly well.
We called the department which is responsible for prevention of smuggling agricultural products from the Territories into Israel, and talked with the district supervisor. He said that, from the viewpoint of the Ministry of Agriculture, there is no difference between leafy vegetables and other vegetables and fruit. He said that there are no written regulations, because according to the strict orders, no agricultural products from the Territories are allowed into Israel, except at special CPs, where it is carried “back to back”. His office does not deal with private consumers. In fact, every Israeli may buy vegetables and fruit for the consumption of his family, including the zaatar herb, in a reasonable quantity. His department has given these guidelines to the DCO. What is a reasonable quantity? This, he answered, is for the commander of the CP to decide. His main consideration is security. As the commander cannot check boxes, he lets through a reasonable quantity which he can check and measure with his eyes.
The inspector promised to call the DCO to clarify again the guidelines.
It is important to follow-up this issue and check whether vegetables and fruit, including leafy vegetables, in a reasonable quantity is let through the CP.
10:10 – Jubara CP – the upper gate and a-Rass CP: At Jubara a Palestinian waits at the gate. According to the commander he has a permit to another gate. The commander tries to check with the brigade if he can return the tasrich to the man or if he has to confiscate it. At a-Rass there are no lines and checking is sporadic.