'Anabta, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Sun 7.12.08, Afternoon
The textbooks tells us little, merely that reserve army duty follows regular service, and in most cases, is carried out in the same unit as the active service and by the same people, causing reserve duty to become a strong male bonding experience. Evidently, the higher echelons see no need for anything other than that, certainly no training re where the reserve soldiers are serving or what they're supposed to be doing. Just place them somewhere in the OPT and wait till their tour of duty is over.
12:00 Gate 1393: Habla
Four soldiers, no Palestinians, one soldier singing, a Hummer waiting on the side so that the gate can be closed in 15 minutes. As we leave, a truck and a horse and cart hurry by us, trying to get there before the gate is closed.
Traffic in both directions moves well, without checking; one car with Israeli license plates(yellow).
13:10 Shvut Ami (outpost)
Below the hillside, an ugly black smoking fire burns. On the hilltop a number of youths moving about, another making his way to the top.
As we arrive, the reserve soldiers, in all their wisdom, close the checkpoint, holding up the four or five vehicles wishing to make their way towards Tulkarm. They tell us that we should stand well behind the checkpoint (where we can see nothing). When we insist that we never stand there, they call over the commander, who tells us, that, for our own safety, we should stand on the side. He next asks how long we'll stay, then bothers us no more. A jeep, flying not one, but two brigade flags, arrives, parks, and the Porta toilet having been made use of, leaves, holding up all the traffic from Tulkarm as it insists on turning around in the center of the checking area. The usual long line of vehicles from Tulkarm, but no checking on either side as traffic again flows freely in both directions.
A Hummer is parked across the gate leading to the village. At the checkpoint, the soldier nods, saying we can go up to A-Ras. Our way is barred by the Hummer, where its four occupants do nothing but lounge. The commander from the checkpoint comes over, saying he's never heard of opening the gate to "citizens... only to the man who lives there. [Abu Ghatem]. We ask some questions about the new checking post, the new traffic light, etc. at the gate: "I don't know anything about this (or, evidently, why the concrete lookout checkpost has been newly placed there). I'm on reserve duty, I'm a student" (implying that he can learn nothing at the checkpoints and is longing to return to his studies). One soldier from the Hummer, who looks like a regular, tells that the road "leads to "Taibeh." Others tell that it's "Palestinian." But ignorance is not bliss. We realize there's no point in arguing and leave.