'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Mon 2.3.09, Afternoon
Translation: Galia S.
13:50 – The soldiers comply with our request and open the gate to Jubara for us without delay. At gate 753 the soldiers ask to see documents and want to know where we are heading.
At Ar-Ras two soldiers man the northern checkpoint and check vehicles that come from the direction of Tulkarm. One soldier is in the watchtower and another, a sergeant, stands at the eastern post, checking vehicles that come from the direction of Qalqiliya. The sergeant asks us to stand west of the watchtower and one of the soldiers at the northern post wonders if we are allowed to stand there. The few vehicles that pass through this checkpoint are checked briefly.
14:30 – Two bulldozers work along the road leading to the checkpoint on the western side of the road. A party of officers arrives in 2 civilian vehicles. They climb up the hill and watch the work of the bulldozers. Their vehicles stand on the roadside opposite the direction of the traffic and since the road is narrow, trucks that come from Tulkarm are forced to maneuver in order to pass between the line of cars that faces Tulkarm and those parked in the opposite direction.
Fatma from Taiyiba has told me that a week ago she drove to Tulkarm and when she came closer to the checkpoint and saw the long line she was unsure whether she should continue or go back, so she stopped on the roadside. A few minutes later a policeman approached her and gave her a ticket explaining that she is standing on the roadside opposite the direction of the traffic.
Today, too, the Israeli police is active at the checkpoint. Two policemen are right inside the northern post of the soldiers.
14:35 – Changing of shifts. The soldiers of the replacing shift arrive in a military vehicle that stands in the middle of the road, which causes the traffic to stop and the lines to get longer. Ten minutes later the military vehicle leaves and a white police jeep starts maneuvering in the middle of the road. It takes 2 minutes and only then the road is free and the work is resumed. The soldiers, again, signal the vehicles to come forward for the inspection. It proceeds slowly and the soldiers teach the drivers a lesson. A vehicle with Israeli licence plates that comes forward and stands beyond the marked line on the road is reprimanded by the soldiers. The policeman detains the driver and tells him to park on the roadside while he is writing the ticket, which takes 15 minutes.
15:50 – The policeman, now joined by another policeman, is free to stop the next car with Israeli licence plates. Long lines of cars drag along in both directions. The policemen join the soldiers and each car gets full attention.
At the southern post, cars with Israeli licence plates are checked by the soldiers and a few meters further they are asked to stop for an additional check, a more thorough one, by the policemen.
Reacting to what is going on, Bilha says that in the West Bank you leave home and have no idea when or where you arrive.
On the way back to the car one of the drivers points at the bulldozer and asks, "Are they allowed to do that?" Then he answers, "This is the occupation."
When we leave, it seems that the bulldozers have cleared and leveled a stripe 30 meters long and 7 meters wide.