'Anabta, Qalqiliya, Mon 22.9.08, Morning
E – Qalqiliya and Tulkarm checkpoints
06:45 – The checkpoint is open. Most of the workers have passed. Standing there, everything being so calm, it's hard to believe that an entire village has been left outside the fence and whenever the people go on errands, they have to pass through the checkpoint. One of the village residents tells us that when his wife need to go shopping in Qalqiliya, their district large town, she has to pass through the checkpoint, of course, and on coming back, the soldiers question her about her shopping and this is humiliating.
07:10 – Many workers are still waiting. As usual, the settler's cars pass without inspection while other Israeli cars, mainly those of Israeli Palestinians, have to wait a long time in line.
07:15 – A taxi driver says that although at the beginning of Ramada [a Muslim holiday] all the Israelis were allowed to enter with their vehicles, now, since last Wednesday, only vehicles with permits can enter. Clarifying the matter with the IDF Humanitarian Center, we are told that this is indeed the situation. There are no lines and almost no inspections but a hand wave is needed.
The soldier who watches the vehicles that leave Qalqiliya is busy talking to his friend and when he feels like it, he waves a car to pass, sometimes without any reason, after 2 or 3 minutes. At times he goes on waving his hand, which makes the next driver think he can get closer, earning thereby a speech, a drive back and waiting. Seeing Lian's shock, first time at the checkpoints, reminds me how worn out we are.
A bus arrives and all the passengers are told to get out and stand in line. All the ID cards are taken and, a few minutes later, returned without even being checked. Then the passengers are allowed to continue on their way. It all looks like a special show for us. We call the Humanitarian Center to complain about the soldiers' attitude. A few minutes later, the soldier starts waiving cars to pass at full speed, without stopping and without inspections.
07:50 – We leave.
10:00 – No lines and almost no checks.
The checkpoint commander tries to make us move but gives up after a few minutes of arguments. On the way to Ar-Ras, we give a lift to a father with his disabled daughter who wants to get to the Figs Passage. He has an entrance permit to Israel, good for 3 days, which he wants to use to look for work. He claims he has no one to leave his daughter with. At Irtah they didn't let him pass with the child and he decided to try the Figs Passage.
We talk to Tami and also call Tulkarm DCO [District Coordination Office of the IDF Civil Administration that handles passage permits], but we warn him that he doesn't stand a chance.