'Anabta, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Te'enim Crossing, Tue 7.4.09, Afternoon
15:00 – We meet here the same graduates
of the "Hesder Yeshivas" [A Talmudical college whose students
combine military service and religious studies.] who tell us that this
checkpoint will soon close down and will function, like in the distant
past, as the Schoolchildren's Gate only. It's not quite clear what status
the people who come and go out to work will have.
A number of youths have passed through
the checkpoint with the right permits, and, in general, it's quiet here.
The soldiers keep telling us that they don't believe in a peace agreement
and that there will always be wars as this is human nature (Is this
what they learn at the Yeshiva?). One of them confesses quietly that
he hates his job and the uniform that identify him with it. On leaving,
we can only console them by saying that at least they have a beautiful
view to calm them down.
15:25 – Seventeen Israeli cars are
waiting to enter Israel. One settler shouts at a soldier for letting
an Arab citizen go through the settler's passage, but the soldier ignores
Huge bulldozers and very large dredgers
cross the road and from time to time block it. The soldiers are forced
to stop the cars and the lines swell quickly by tens – even more than
hundred – of cars. Sometimes a worker hammers nails into white ribbons
in the middle of the road – another reason to stop the traffic. When
it is possible to pass, the soldiers let them pass without inspection.
The checkpoint commander arrives and
demands from his soldiers not to talk to us. When we ask if we can talk
to him, he refuses.
14:45 – When finally a few more vehicles
can move, the commander announces a "fire exercise" all the
soldiers disappear into the trenches alongside the road. The Palestinian
drivers who know this show better than us explain to us the nature of
15:55 – An ambulance arrives and
it stands at the head of the line, but there are no soldiers at the
checkpoint to let it pass.
16:00 – The traffic resumes and a convoy
of buses that arrives from Tulkarm full of female students stop for
16:15 – A police jeep with two policemen
arrives. It turns out, they have been called by the checkpoint commander
on our account. The claim is that we disturb the soldiers and they can't
carry out their task although we haven't talked to any soldier and haven't
even moved from our place that is a distance away from the checkpoint.
The policemen try to be nice and explain that the commander is simply
concerned about our safety in the bustle of the heavy machines.
16:20 – The line of cars going into
Tulkarm is very long. The woman driver of the Red Cross says that she
has already called the DCO [District Coordination Office of the IDF
Civil Administration that handles passage permits] and told them about
the problem. We regret not having demanded right away that they stop
the work at least for the hours of pressure, but, actually, only when
we make it to get out and drive back, do we realize how huge the line
16:30 – We call Manor from the DCO
who claims they know nothing about the problem at Anabta. He puts the
blame on us for not having called earlier and also says that the delay
is due to the inspection. He doesn't really believe us and says he will
send someone to check.
When we call again he tries to explain
the Palestinians will benefit from the development works, too. We, in
turn, tell him that when the municipality of Tel Aviv does development
works for the benefit of the residents, the works are done during the
17:10 – Taxi drivers complain that
there has been a terrible traffic jam at the entrance to the city all
day long. One of them explains that many of Qalqiliya residents have
Israeli ID cards and are allowed to work in Israel. Now they are on
their way back home. However, almost all the cars now in line have Palestinian
licence plates which are not allowed to enter Israel.
The checkpoint commander demands that
we stand near the red sign that marks the beginning of the Palestinian
We crawl forward. To our question whether
the checkpoint is open 24 hours a day the answer is "yes".
We also want to know if there are detainees, but they say there aren't.