'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Sun 12.10.08, Afternoon
Habla, Qalqiliya, Anabta, Jubara, A-Ras
The word “jaded” is usually associated with a bored upper class, but there’s no getting away from it, the Occupation has made the soldiers of the IDF both jaded and cynical: they are dulled by a surfeit of inane rules and regulations and are, as we saw particularly today, drained and weary of the excessive effort needed to keep the Occupation going.
12:45 Gate 1395: Habla
The gate is closed, and we learn that, although the winter clock is already a week old, there are grave inconsistencies as to when the gate is open. Usually, but not always, the gate is open from 6:30-7:45 in the morning; from 10:45 to 11:45 midday and from 15:45 to 18:00 in the afternoon.
Israeli vehicles are checked – IDs, etc., but there is little traffic in either direction; the soldiers here, as elsewhere in the OPT seem jaded and bored.
Little traffic, five or six vehicles, including large trucks from Tulkarm; to Tulkarm Israeli cars pass freely, without being checked.
At the gate, we’re asked by the commander opening the gate if we have a permit, but he expresses no interest in the answer.
More encouraging, in the village of Jubara, for the first time in all the years we’ve been coming here, a sign of life in the sorely dilapidated chicken runs. One of them appears full of white hens…. A sign of life at last!
A truck bearing olive trees is in front of us, but it has to wait for a large, civilian bus coming from the checkpoint below, at Jubara on the security road, to offload a change of shift. This same bus continues on to A-Ras, as do we.
Here, the soldiers decide to have some fun, at our expense, and start to shout at each other, clearly for our benefit, asking, in exceedingly loud voices, what’s going on; next, they proceed to tell us that “something has happened to our hearing.” Their behavior is disgusting, but they treat a passing man on a donkey much more gently and wave on the few cars coming from Tulkarm as trucks lurch their way, without being checked, over the rutted checkpoint roadway on to Tulkarm. The soldiers endless shouting drives us off, and the bus soon follows us, but arrives at Jubara checkpoint much before we do: the security road is quicker by far, and there’s no need to wait for a soldier to unlock a gate!