Northern West Bank: the Separation Barrier has Lost Its Bearings
Palestinians streaming in droves
The separation fence (barrier) that is supposedly there to tighten restrictions and prevent Palestinians from crossing over from the West Bank into the seamline zone and into Israel has been torn open in many spots along its track for months now. Thousands of people cross through it on a daily basis, unhampered, and the occupation authorities are fully aware of this. We have been reporting it for over half a year in our (superfluous?) checkpoint shift reports from the northern to the southern parts of the West Bank. On the other hand, the Israeli media contains extremely weak and random echoes of this farce that exposes the charade of the enormous efforts and resources that were invested in putting up this barrier in the first place, and lays bare the sham of occupation. In view of the uncontrolled crossing ongoing in the area, the fence and the checkpoints have been stripped of their “security” trappings and exposed their real purpose: plain bullying and the denial of human rights of the occupied Palestinian population.
Morning show in the theatre of the absurd on road 611
This morning I watched and photographed fence smugglings opposite road 611 (stretching from Harish City to the Reihan-Barta’a Checkpoint) at a spot below the Palestinian village of Daher Al Abed situated on a shallow hill. Every single morning, droves of Palestinians from the West Bank arrive in cabs at the car park just outside the village, headed mainly towards Israel. They all cross the fence through its openings, unhampered, rushing across the security road. In a previous shift I watched Palestinians stopping politely and letting the army jeep pass by before stepping on the road themselves… Perfect harmony.
On the other side of the security road as well as on road 611 itself, many cabs stand waiting for them to deliver them to their destinations. Nice. Livelihood awaits. As soon as they are on road 611 and the security road behind, they can reach any spot inside Israel.
Seldom is a military vehicle or two seen, with unseen soldiers inside, in a ridiculous show of presence and totally ignoring the bustling activity right in front of them. So far, there have been several random incidents of hurling stun grenades, arrests on suspicion of smuggling, and deployment of soldiers close to a single crossing point, while all around the open activity through other openings in the fence does not cease for a second.
No fence. No soldiers. The occupation has lost its bearings.
I watched such crossings elsewhere too – north of the previous spot, opposite the Palestinian village of Anin. The Separation Fence there separates the village and the PA areas from the Israeli town of Umm Al Fahm.
Where I was standing, I watched not just single openings but an entire open section amounting to dozens of meters (the fence here is gone) through which Palestinians from the PA can easily cross over night and day into Umm Al Fahm and back. In one of the town’s streets, not far away, is a “slave market” where many of the ‘illegals’ stream to, hoping to find some work.
I went on my shift this morning following people entering our website who asked to help find the open parts of the fence described above. It was publicized in the media that Nahal soldiers about to be discharged were arrested for a Military Police investigation on suspicion of harming state security. They were accused of helping Palestinian illegals cross the separation fence around Anin in order to enter Israel. The soldiers’ attorneys responded that this was a political incrimination without any shred of evidence, connected with the fact that those soldiers were considered lefties, and harassed for it by their commanders throughout their military service.
On Wednesday, September 16, these soldiers were released both from their arrest and from their full military service. We won’t see them guarding the northern parts of the fence in “our” area, for no one is replacing them…