'Anabta, 'Azzun 'Atma, Ar-Ras, Jit, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Mon 15.9.08, Morning
Azzun Atma, Qalqiliya and Tulkarm checkpoints, Mon., 15.9.08,
We meet at 05:30.
It's still completely dark.
05:50 – There is
little vehicle traffic and it seems that only few workers are waiting near the
gate to pass the checkpoint. The inspection is brief. We enter Azzun on the way
to Azzun Atme. It is still dark and people are probably eating. We drive behind
a car with Israeli licence plates and wonder if the driver will enter Azzun
Atme but he goes on.
There are few
people at the exit from the village. The document inspection is brief (no food
bags, probably because of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan). The cars are checked
At the entrance
to the village there are a few more people but here, too, the passage
through the turnstiles, the windows and the magnometer is quick. They enter in
groups of 4-5 people each time. Women also pass through the magnometer. Isn't
there an instruction that women don't have to pass through that device? The
checkpoint commander comes and asks us to move a few meters away and stand
behind the concrete blocks. He claims that this is the brigade commander's
instruction and that he is authorized to close the checkpoint if we disobey.
Since we have seen that the behavior towards the Palestinians is reasonable, we
decide to leave the place.
07:00 – The
traffic is streaming. There are very few cars in the parking lot, where usually
cars with Israeli licence plates are parked.
On the way to Beit Iba
At the cars
junkyard in Funduq we see a squad of soldiers moving about aimlessly (perhaps
preparing for an action …), while in the village Palestinians are sitting idly
in the doorway of their shops. Two soldiers are walking beside the road near
One of the
hilltop youth is hitching a lift near the encampment of Shvut Ami.
At Jit junction
two soldiers are waiting for a lift. Palestinian taxis pass swiftly.
To an outsider
who comes to visit here things might seem calm and peaceful. He may it hard to
believe that any time and in any place violence can break loose.
08:40 – There are
no inspections at the entrance to Anabta but the drivers are waiting for the
"sacred" hand gesture and dare not come closer.
At the exit the
inspections are random. All the passenger's documents are checked while a bus
full of passengers passes without any inspection.
09:00 – We leave.
09:15 – We enter
without any problem.
Ar-Ras (farm 8)
09:20 – Cars that
come from the direction of Qalqiliya pass without inspection.
Some time later,
the real "fighter" among the soldiers decided that they have to be
harassed and he stops them right on the top of the huge pothole in the road for
inspection. The soldier does it while shouting and aiming his weapon at a
Palestinian who comes from the direction of Jubara and has already gone through
an inspection at gate 753. The checkpoint commander restrains the soldier.
A big truck
loaded with bags of animal concentrated food mixture arrives from the direction
of Tulkarm and stops, the soldiers claim, too close to the checkpoint. The
driver's documents are checked and the truck is sent to stand aside. The driver
is told to get out of the truck. The inspection takes a long time and the
driver who has been sitting in the sun is moved, at our request, to the shade,
but still nothing happens. The checkpoint commander talks with the detainee in
Arabic with the help of a conversation booklet he has. We call the IDF
Humanitarian Center and ask them to check the issue.
later we ask the checkpoint commander what is going on and he says that the
young man is wanted by the General Security Service and he and his truck are
going to be taken away. (There is also a helper in the truck but he is probably
clean). We decide to call the IDF Humanitarian Center again and find out what
they know but before we make it, the driver and his truck and helper are
suddenly released and leave to go on their way …
We are not sure
whether our presence has helped or caused a delay.
We also leave to
go on our way.