Tulkarem and Qalqiliya, Tue 23.10.07, Morning
06:15-06:30 - The parking lot is crowded. The facility opened at 04:30. Here in Irtah the workers have less complaints than the other privatized or army-managed so-called passages (to Israel).We gave two workers application forms for "removing a security ban" and explained the procedure. Although the form is supposed to be filled by the Israeli employer, the fact that it is written in Hebrew only is a disgrace. Why only in Hebrew? For the same reason that most road signs cite the names of every godforsaken settlement but not the names of Palestinian cities.
06:40-07:00 - A dog-handler and her dog are idle. A lone car arrived from Tulkarm, was checked cursorily and sent on its way.
09:00-09:30 (on the way back from Beit Iba) - Upon arrival we saw a very long line of vehicles stretching on the exit side, and soon the same happened on the entrance side. Everything is at standstill. No checking. This is due to changing of the guard, "rolling" in army lingo. Following the "rolling" there was a drill: the soldiers started running, stooping down, waving their rifles. They soon disappeared up the hill. Across the road, in the olive grove, a couple with a small child harvest olives. When the drill start,the father hurries to collect the obviously scared child. They say that the soldiers let them harvest freely, an unusual thing these days. The "rolling" ends, so does the drill, the checkpoint still doesn't move. The soldiers are busy talking, laughing, smoking. Twenty minutes after our arrival the vehicles start moving, quite fast.
From Abu Hatem's balcony in Jubara we watched the Blue & White women [an extreme right group of hysterical and violent women] conversing with the soldiers at the checkpoint. No confrontation today.