Makkabim (Beit Sira), Ni'lin (Kiryat Sefer), Sun 24.2.08, Morning
Tamar B, Eilat B, Anat S (reporting)
05:00 - 07:00
05:00 Makkabim Checkpoint
The checkpoint opened. A woman soldier checks at a snail’s pace (instead of at least two).
05:10 – the checkpoint commander (pleasant and polite) comes over to us and defines the observation points that are permissible. We asked why there was only one checker and explained to him that the area was civilian and we would stand anywhere that would allow us to observe, and we would try not to interfere.
200 workers stand in a line that barely moves.
05:20 – we phone the "war room" to clarify why there isn’t a full checking shift.
05:25 – a second woman joins the document inspection.
From now until 06:10, when we leave the checkpoint, soldiers were being changed incessantly in the emplacement and at the checking station: for a few minutes checking IDs then a few minutes examining bags. The women soldiers on the concrete blocks check alternately bags and IDs. Soldiers come and go between the line of workers and the line of vehicles. We were completely unsuccessful at discerning who does what and how. Appalling lack of organisation and efficiency. There is no place to put bags for checking, so everything is done in the air. If the bags are indeed suspect as carrying explosives, then our soldiers are ducks in a shooting range!! Everything runs very slowly. We timed the wait of a worker from arrival till he passes at one hour.
One soldier shouts and is particularly crude and vulgar. At one point he turns to a worker, who is trying to achieve order, and shouts "shut your mouth." I intervene and comment to him on his manner of speech. He shouts at me: "If your mother was injured in a strike, let's see how you would talk..."
I answered that my father was killed in a terror strike... and this is not the place to correct accounts. There was quiet!
06:25 Ni'lin Checkpoint
Two ambulances at the entrance to the area by the checkpoint. Apparently there was an accident here, around 05:30. A worker was run over and killed. A vehicle coming from the direction of Israel sped through the checkpoint and, for some unclear reason, crossed the lanes and ran over a 55 year old Palestinian, father of five. Two of his sons sat, mourning, by the ambulance where their father lay.
Randomly, without any preparation of the surroundings, a checkpoint was erected in the middle of the road. A half metre verge along the road. On the side, crushed between concrete partitions, workers stand in line for ID checks. People come and go on the road, workers walk down the road to the checkpoint, and return to join the inspection line.
Policemen are investigating the accident.
The "guilty" vehicle is still on the spot.
The security of the soldiers is not an element in all the chaos...
Without being au fait with safety concerns, it is clear that the next accident is already on the way, and the IDF can already accept the blame for all the accidents that have been and will be.