Ar-Ras, Irtah, Jubara (Kafriat), Tue 18.11.08, Afternoon

Observers: 
Meirav A. and Esti Z. (reporting)
18/11/2008
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Afternoon

Translator: Louise Levi

13.15
Irtach – On the side of Tulkarem, at the workers’ entrance, there are a few people. Two of them are standing at the turnstile. One of them, from Jubara, is waiting for the district coordinator. He tells us, from the other side of the barrier, that his permit to work in Israel was taken from him at the Jubara roadblock. So he has been waiting for quite some time already for somebody to open the turnstile and let him through! At this hour the roadblock is almost empty, but he is still waiting.

We take pictures. A few minutes later a security guard from “Mikud Avtacha” asks us to leave. Almost at the same moment a Hummer with a number of officers appears. They ask us very politely not to walk on the intrusion tracking dirt road (we are standing close to the fence, how else would we be able to see? Anyway it’s quite hard seeing through the jungle of fences, taking pictures and exchanging a few words with the people waiting). Everybody we meet tells us to come in the morning. It’s just terrible, lots of people crowding together and no effort is being made to let people through more efficiently.

14.15
At the exit to Israel – Pickup trucks with fruit pickers, most of them working around Natanya, are beginning to arrive. On their way home they also tell us, “Come in the morning! Then you’ll really see what’s going on! Crowds of people!”

15.00
Jubara roadblock – Reserve soldiers are at the roadblock. The commander is a lieutenant. We ask to pass through the gate. To our surprise (last Tuesday we were refused entrance: “no entrance for Machsomwatch women!”) a soldier with the key walks up to the gate. Suddenly the commander wants to know if we are from Machsomwatch, and we tell him that we are. So then he says that we need a permit, and we ask, how come? Just a moment ago you almost opened the gate. He explains that the people from the village and UN officials pass through without any problems. I remark that I don’t look like any of them. He says that he got confused, and so he calls to get the permit, explaining that this is the procedure. He adds that this morning women from Machsomwatch have tried to enter. They waited for the permit and left a minute before they got the answer that entry was note permitted because of an drill that was taking place. It was too dangerous to enter the village. I asked if the drill didn’t endanger the people living in the village. He answers that the less people the better!

After a few minutes we get the permit and enter. We reach the mythological “Children’s Roadblock”. A woman is waiting there for her sister who is sitting in a car a few steps away on the other side of the road at gate No. 753. Her sister, who is at an advanced stage of pregnancy, is married to a man from the neighboring village, Balad. Her whole family, her sister, her husband, two small children and her father are waiting in the car for the soldiers just to let the husband drive them to her sister’s house. It will take only a few minutes and then he’ll come back. But no way. They get out of the car, join the sister, and start walking to the village carrying gifts and food. Her husband has to turn back, and tomorrow he’ll come again to drive everybody back home.

We continue in the direction of A-Ras. At the junction there are roadblocks on both sides of the road. Without delay we drive on towards Tulkarem thinking that we might be able to get onto the highway from there, but we are wrong! This is the road below road No. 557, the apartheid road, on which we drive towards Anabta and Beit Iba and the settlers towards the settlements Avnei Hefetz, Einav, and Shavei Shomron. And of course, the army is the main user of this road leading to Nablus with all its roadblocks.