'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Sun 3.8.08, Afternoon
Bob Dylan and the OPT? Well, why not?
"Outside of the gates the trucks were unloadin', The weather was hot, a-nearly 90 degrees….. Yeah, the locusts sang off in the distance….."
The only difference is that we might term our shift "the day of the donkeys" not locusts, a day of the usual proverbially stupid and obstinate conduct of the army of occupation.
13:30 -- no problem in getting in to Jubara village, the gate is quickly, and smilingly opened, by a soldier who dons his beret before he unlocks the padlock.
There's a lot of traffic in the village itself today -- donkey carts, three waiting outside Abu Maher's shop, another coming towards it from the west. No explanation, other than no cars…..
Soldiers, again with camouflaged berets, (instead of helmets or perhaps the latest summer fashion in the army) stop two young men from crossing the separation barrier and entering the village. The soldiers tell us they've no idea if they have relatives in the village: "they have no permit" is the end of the story for them. The young men, with whom we catch up on their way back to A-Ras, say they need the signature of the mayor of Jubara to get a permit from the DCO, but since they can't get into the village, there's the usual vicious circle with which no one can contend.
The generator hums in the heat, the lights atop their tall poles are on, although it's hard to see them as the sun is so bright. Another asinine waste of money, as is the Hummer which arrives, laden with soldiers, who get out, talk to the soldiers on duty at A-Ras, talk to us, want to get into political arguments, while, all the time, the engine of their vehicle roars its gas guzzling engine.
14:15 -- the soldier in the crow's nest takes no notice of the cars waiting at the southern end of the checkpoint, coming from the Qalqiliya direction, but dons his helmet, as he mutters, quite loudly, to another soldier who's having a drink in the tent below, that he is now "in danger" with our arrival. He is no doubt, however, protected by the "thank you note" pinned up next to his position from the women in blue and white. This thank you note bears a flower, but no flag…
Private cars and taxis are now hailed by a whistle from this same soldier (of course they can't hear, as they are many meters from the checkpoint), but they wobble onwards, along the uneven road surface with its mighty holes, towards Tulkarm.
One of the soldiers in the Hummer tells us, smugly, that this disgraceful state of the road is "yet another measure of security." So, there are donkeys in Jubara and another breed of donkeys at A Ras!
The greatest activity is of the young boys at the junction, trying to sell figs. At the checkpoint itself, traffic flows freely in both directions, with the greater amount of trucks, taxis, cars and buses going towards Tulkarm.
16:45 Shvut Ami
The bright white gravel pathway, leading to the brightly painted light pink house, is blocked by newly placed barbed or razor wire. On the hillside opposite, the settler youth continue to make themselves at home beneath their awning, flying always more contemptible posters in the roadway.
From Qalqiliya there are eight visible vehicles, but it's clear that the two soldiers supposed to be checking them are more interested in chatting to each other than in getting on with their duty. Going into Qalqiliya, the sergeant commander stands alone, Israeli licensed vehicles (yellow plates) are usually, but not always checked. Vehicles move swiftly and freely.