Northern Checkpoints: The story of a 12-year-old girl who went to visit her grandmother and ended up at the DCO

Marina Banai and Ruthi Tuval (Reporting) Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham


12:15 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint

The gate was locked.  We forgot that it would be locked because we are not used to being here at this time of day.  The soldiers arrived and opened the checkpoint after 7 minutes.  We hoped to see the children from Dahar Al Malec returning home, but only one 6-year-old boy crossed the checkpoint alone.  A little girl crossed with her mother and there were a few cars.  We learned that the older children were attending matriculation examinations in Arabic and mathematics today and were using the classrooms in the elementary school for the examinations.  We drove to Hirbet al Radiyeh that still has no electricity.  Marina brought a large avocado sapling  that she had promised her friend there.  We bought wonderful olives and drove back to Tura Checkpoint to see if the children had arrived.   The checkpoint was quiet and three nicely dressed young people were crossing the field towards the lone house. 

13:35 – Barta'a –Reihan Checkpoint

We parked in the Palestinian parking lot.  The drivers greeted us with a surprising story about H., a young man we know who used to have a stall here and now works as a driver.   We know him as a cheerful person and his friends describe him as being a bit crazy.  He is now jailed in Jenin after surrendering himself to the police there.   He stabbed a driver from Emricha who was antagonizing him.  The driver was slightly injured in the face and leg and has been released from the hospital.   If they agree upon a sulha – [a ceremony in which two rival parties agree to end hostilities] he will serve only a few months, and if not he will serve five years in prison.  The family of the man who was stabbed has not agreed to hold a sulha.    

At 14:20 the seamstresses from Barta'a began to arrive and we began to hear about a serious incident that happened recently to a person who spoke fluent Hebrew and his family.   The person relating the story lived in an isolated house next to a carob grove between Yaabed and Tura.  His 12-year-old daughter left one evening to go to her grandmother's house about 100 meters away.  When she heard noise among the trees she thought there were wild pigs and attempted to drive them away by throwing stones.  Several soldiers emerged, caught her, and took her to the military camp at Dotan where they accused her of throwing stones at them and called them pigs.  Members of her family searched for her for hours and finally notified the Palestinian Authority, who in turn approached other authorities and the girl was returned to her family at Salem Liaison and Coordination Administration the following morning.   Her father explained that his daughter had not been harmed and was not even frightened.  The family underwent a frightening night.  We are left to ask ourselves a lot of questions about the I.D.F.