'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Mon 4.2.08, Afternoon

Bilha A., Tamara H., Yona A. (reporting)Trans. Judith Green

13:50  Jubara, Ar-Ras
We stop next to the grocery shop at Jubara and take Abu Hattam, at his request, to the checkpoint at Ar-Ras.   At the checkpoint, gate #753, the soldiers inspect Abu Hattam's documents and we all continue to Ar-Ras.  Other than the military vehicle bringing reinforcements of soldiers to the checkpoint, there is no traffic of Palestinians at this hour.  The soldiers use their time for a short exercise.  They spread out in the area, cock their weapons and call out various shouts.  We continue to Anabta.

14:30  Anabta
At the southern checkpoint, a soldier lets through the vehicles going to Tulkarm.  Randomly, he stops cars, asks questions, checks the baggage compartment and lets them go.  Three soldiers go back and forth between the lookout tower and the northern checkpoint.  One of the soldiers in the station gestures to cars coming from the direction of Tulkarm to go through, while talking with his friends.  Sometimes the soldiers are so deep in conversation that they forget to signal to the cars to approach.


The soldiers stop a taxi at the entrance to Tulkarm, take the documents of the young passengers and tell the driver to move forward, to park the taxi on the side and all the passengers are asked to get out.  Five young men, a young woman and two adults.  Two soldiers go to the watch tower to check the documents.  All the traffic coming from the direction of Tulkarm is halted.  The soldier in the northern tower is meanwhile drinking, exchanging pleasantries with his pals, who seem quite happy with stopping the taxi.  Five minutes later, the soldier in the tower once again gestures to the car to go forward.



One of the soldiers goes up to the two adult passengers and also asks them for their papers.  While he is walking off to check the documents in the watch tower, another soldier asks to check the baggage compartment of the car.  Another soldier comes over to help him.  They don't find anything.  The soldiers appear delighted, going back and forth from the watch tower to the inspection station, humming.  The vehicles meanwhile are going in both directions without being checked.



One of the soldiers brings the documents to the passengers in the taxi, calls out their names, identifies the people and goes back to the station with the documents.


We clarify with the soldiers why there is a delay for this taxi and are told that there is a good reason.  At this point, we call the humanitarian hotline and report.  Gila at the hotline promises to check out the reason for the delay.



Another taxi is checked.  The passengers are asked to give their documents.  The documents are checked and returned within a few minutes.  The taxi goes off and the growing line of vehicles is let out.



We asked for a telephone number from one of the passengers in order to stay in touch and continued to the checkpoint at Beit Iba.


During the next hour, we called the Hotline several times and we told that they were still checking out the case.  At 16:40 they released the taxi along with its passengers.