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אורנית, מהצד הזה של הגדר

'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 1.10.07, Afternoon

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Observers: 
Neta G., Anna N. S. (reporting)
Oct-1-2007
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Afternoon
12:15 - 15:45

Translation: Devorah K.

Along the road that leads to the seamline zone, there are signs inviting people to the Succoth festivities - music, story-telling, and games for the family in the lap of nature. At the entrance to the Barta'a enclave a Haredi girl is standing and distributing flyers that announce the events in the settlements in the area: Tal Menashe, Reihan, Hinanit, Shaked, Mavo Dothan and Hermesh. We invite her to come with us to the checkpoint, but she believes in 'all the Land of Israel'. She does not know anything about the occupation.

12:15 - 13:30 Shaked (Tura)
The soldiers warn us not to pass the white line. By 13:00  most of the pupils and the little children have already gone home to the seamline zone. The school day is a little shorter because of the Ramadan. The high school pupils have to go through the inspection hut and they come out with their belts in their hands. They say that the school bags are opened and inspected as are the sandwich bags. The younger pupils open their bags and the soldiers glance into them.

A group of pupils coming back from school tease us. The hostile attitude toward us is upsetting.... the buds of hate and hostility and the desire to demonstrate anger. We wait for one of the local people who wants to give us documents and will sign others. The soldiers do not allow us to meet in the middle of the CP. Every one of our attempts to enter the CP compound in order to say something to the soldiers arouses a flood of belligerence: "Get out of here, go on, go on, get out of here!"

A woman wants to transport a washing machine from Tura to her home in Daher el-Malek. She puts it on her head as if it was a straw basket and steps up to the soldiers, who, of course, do not allow her to take it.
Cars pass from here to there with no unnecessary delays. A. goes through with his new pickup truck, which is at long last registered on his permit. People are returning from the West Bank with bags of food.

13:40 - 15:00 Reihan (Barta'a)
In the shed in the lower parking lot, there is a collection of sofas and armchairs, and the drivers are sitting and lying on them, waiting for passengers. Walid is also there as a porter -on -call. During the Ramadan he does not sell coffee and sweets. An ugly routine.

Shortly after 14:00, the seamstresses return in groups. 200 seamstresses work in three sewing workshops in Barta'a, 8 hours a day, for a wage of between 6 and 10 NIS per hour.
They object to the inspections in the rooms of the terminal, do not understand why they have to have their IDs inspected twice within a few minutes. They are happy about the the article on the CP in the newspaper, Haaretz; they are proud to tell us that the reporter interviewed them and and ask for a copy of the article.

Toward three o'clock there are more people returning from the seamline zone, and all together only a few dozen go through.

Two pickup trucks are waiting for inspection. A. claims that they are only allowed to transport 30 sheep per day, in two shifts, 15 each time. And that is not enough.

15:05-15:45. 'Anin
Three soldiers at the entrance to the CP at the front, one of them has in hand the ID cards that he collected. He opens each and reads the last 4 numerals to the soldier who checks the numbers on the list in red. The third soldier is bored.
32 people went through in the morning and now they are noting those returning. The passage is conducted quickly and quietly. There is no eye contact, no exchange of words, no greeting. Those standing opposite the gate wait quietly for their turn. Some on foot and some on tractors. They get their IDs back without a word. And without a word go on to their homes.

Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 1.10.07, Afternoon

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Merav A., Nur B. (reporting)
Oct-1-2007
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Afternoon

Natanya translating.

12.50 Za'atra (Tapuach)
11 cars in either direction. The commanders says there are no limitations or alerts and that today he and his soldiers are leaving the checkpoint and it is well that this is so.
13.05 Checkpiont at Burin is empty.
13.10 Beit Furik
Little movement at the CP and the checking is in both directions which is unusual here. A van with a young Chabad arrives with a succah on it and loud music. One of them speaks to us very threateningly. "I will break your camerainfo-icon." They bring the 4 plants to the soldiers. The one shakes the Lulav and the movement at the checkpoint comes to a stop. The commander says it will only take a minute and the Chabad men say the soldiers have to because they are Jews but why should the Palestinians have to wait.
13.40 Huwwara.
Under the sentry tower are three cars which have driven on the apartheid road, Madison which leads to Eitemar and Elon Moreh. There is no sign forbidding this. One driver is a doctor who has to get to Ramallah to operate on a child who had been hurt badly in a road accident. . He has all the necessary documents. We speak to the soldier who are not impressed at the urgency of the matter. Then slowly the soldier climbs the sentry tower where he does something and then comes down to stand guard over the settlers. He passed the drivers without a word. We speak to the commander and eventually the man is freed after 40 minutes, the others at 15.30. One of them says "What is this that the road is not for me? My olive trees are there. They took my land and soon they will take my god too."
The centre claims that there was a sign there but the Palestinians took it down. But we know the area and know that there never was a sign there.
New soldiers are being given a briefing at the checkpoint and so the entrance to the city is closed for 10 minutes. 10 cars are waiting. 3 checking posts one of which has stopped working 15 minutes previously and the pedestrians wait in silence. 2 men say the wait is about an hour to an hour and a half. Women and older men go through the side path which takes about 45 minutes. The young men first go through just taking off their belts next to the x-ray but later they have to do the ritual dance as we are told that now there is more time to check carefully.
Ids and permits are checked at the entrance to Nablus and the passage is swift. At the exit there is the known check with the driver going forwards with the soldier signing him to do so and the passengers alighting and going through on foot while their ids are checked. The car is checked thoroughly sometimes also the engine.
15.07 -A young man is detained because the soldier demanded that he take off his belt while standing in line and he said he would do so when his turn came and has been detained for his cheek. The soldier demands also from others that they take off their belts in the line shouts rudely at the people.
And this is how an incident of stone throwing starts at the checkpoint. One soldier throws a stone. Another sees the stone and calls in the commander and his men who come at a rush.
An old woman greets the soldier with a smile and gets no reply. We meet a person from the Hawarra checkpoint whose family and their sad story we know. Also saw how a prisoner returning was greeted by his happy mother while the soldiers stand with their weapons pointed at them. And it is hard to describe the movement of the hand which the soldier uses to send the women out of the shed as he shouts to them to go outside.
16.00 -Tension as the fast nears its end and everyohne wanted to get home and the soldiers are also impatient. 10 minutes later we leave.
Burin
2 cars and Zaatra 41 cars in both directions at 16.35

Beit Iba, Jit, Qalqiliya, Mon 1.10.07, Morning

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Observers: 
Frances T. (reporting), Osnat R., Moria (new member)
Oct-1-2007
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Morning

06.35 Qalqiliya- There are no lines of cars entering and about 12 cars waiting to exit. There are random checks incoming and individual checks on outgoing vehicles. After the arrival of an officer the MP's perform more thorough checks but no serious delays in either direction.

We proceed in the direction of Azoun and are pleased to note that the blockades have disappeared.

07.30 Jit – the checkpost is not manned but we see 2 soldiers strolling across the road.

07.40 Beit Iba- We arrive at the new and improved checkpost. We notice the preparation for a "garden" between the humanitarian post (which never seems to be used) and the "jora" – the detaineesinfo-icon area. An anomaly in this dusty and hateful place.

At first there are very few people crossing and the soldiers seem quite friendly. We see 2 detainees. We are informed by one of the soldiers that they tried to pass the checkpost without presenting their ID's and are "being punished".

At around 8.10 more Palestinians arrive at the checkpost and another checker is appointed to speed up the process. Women and the elderly pass without a check. The building of the new road continues on a small scale with 2 workmen adjusting cement blocks and the lorries and other vehicles kicking up piles of dust. We estimate the delay for cars from Nablus at about 10 minutes.

At 8.30 we approach the officer in charge and ask him why the detainees are still being held. At first he does not want to speak to us but we convince him. He maintains that they are undergoing "security checks". We ask him to allow us to speak to the detainees and he very reluctantly agrees. These are 2 university students from Nablus who have no idea why they are being held. They tell us they have an exam this morning at the university, which they will evidently miss.

There is a change of shift at the checkpost. The new officer in charge is now insisting on everyone being stopped for a check and we see women with babies and young children being made to stand in line and produce their ID's.

At 9.00 there is no change re the detainees and I try to make contact with the officer. He refuses to speak to me, turns his back and ignores me. This causes me to report the matter to the Moked and give them the ID of one of the detainees to find out why he is being held. The Moked promises to get back to me. 3 members of the Ecumenical Council arrive for a brief visit to the checkpost and tell us that the Ayal crossing is closed (?)

9.40 we leave the checkpost. At 10.30 I get a call from one of the detainees informing me that he has been released.

Beit Iba, Jit, Mon 1.10.07, Afternoon

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Yonah A., Ziona S. (reporting)
Oct-1-2007
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Afternoon

Natanya translating


Imperviousness is the word for this shift at Beit Iba. Small children are pushed together with students in the turnstiles. The fact that this is towards the end of a day of fasting has no affect on the students. Children of six are already big enough to be shoved into a mass of people.

14.40   A man of about 50 who speaks good Hebrew tells us that he is responsible for the upkeep of the new campus at El Najjah.  Yesterday he wanted to go through the side line which is allowed to men of his age but the captain refused to allow this. He stayed there in a demonstrative manner and another 15 people of the staff joined him. The man speaks cynical about the pointlessness of the general search conducted on those of all ages, the humiliation which he and his friends undergo every day.

Many students are returning home from the university shoved into a line with men of 50-60, women and small children. The sideline is blocked by a soldier who will not let anyone through. A soldier checks the bags on a table and this includes an elderly man of about 70 who has parcels of cakes which may be meant for the end of the fast.


I turn to the commander and ask him to open a humanitarian line but he says he does not have the man power. I wonder if this is because of the manpower being used to protect the settlers going up to form new settlements.  And in the meantime he himself is conducing a flirtation with a woman soldier in the booth.  
I suggest he sends the soldier blocking the side path to do so but he says this impossible and there is no representative of the DCO either.


 
I phone the humanitarian centre and Gilad says he will deal with this and in the meantime the elderly and women are waiting in the sideline with their ids at the ready only to be told to go back and people shout that the soldiers are standing and not doing anything.


14.50 Two soldiers from the car lane being 4 young men to the enclosure…they had tried to take a shortcut and been caught. Their ids are taken and they will not be freed until 16.00 and soon another 4 are added to this lot. They ask to explain to the captain that they were hurrying home to break the fast but he does not care.


15.00  The bus was full of women and had difficulty making its way. A long line of cars at the exit of Nablusand the checking was very slow. It took the bus 20 minutes.  The ids are collected by the soldiers and military police which are checked. The driver is told to open the baggage compartment and the pavement stones are in the way and the driver has to move these heavy objects.


The soldiers at the car lane are very energetic and no one is misses. A car stops with three elderly people inside and give in their ids. The driver opens the baggage compartment and the soldier checks every bag and takes out three white envelopes which are sealed and the driver is told to open one and when this is done the soldier hardly looks inside at the contents.


15.15 A
family with three children, a babyinfo-icon and two little girls of 6 and 8 tries to pass at the side. The little girls have big satchels on their backs and are sent by the soldier to the ordinary line. The man explains to the soldier that the woman cannot pass in the ordinary line with the baby and the soldier says she can go through but he must take the children who look desperate. The bags are very big but the soldier feels they are old enough to cope in the crowd. The family remains standing another half an hour and slowly other elderly people who are used to passing each day in this line join them.


15.45  Gilad again says he is dealing with the subject. After 10 minutes we speak to the lieutenant who eventually goes up to the soldier and they go through. Everyone else is sent back and the people say to us "You see this and you do nothing?" We again ask and are told that today they cannot allow another line. I again phone the centre and say that things are going to explode.


15.15  Suddenly there is a change and the captain says to open a humanitarian line. Why could they not do so before?


16.00 A
young student goes through and the soldier shouts at him to return. The man says he has been checked and the soldier says no. His id is taken and he is sent to the jorra and when he does not do so he is pushed in by force.


16.35- Jit:  The checkpoint  on the northern side. The eastern path is blocked. No lines. There are signs "We do not gamble on the home."

Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 1.10.07, Morning

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Observers: 
Dalia V., and Amira A. (reporting)
Oct-1-2007
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Morning

Translation:  Suzanne O.

Za'atra

7:30 a.m.

A bus from the west is being checked, behind it there are 12 vehicles waiting in the queue.

To the south:  two taxis are detained.  According to the passengers: one since 5:00 a.m., and the second one for about the last 20 minutes.

We went up to a soldier whom we mistakenly thought was the roadblock commander; he claimed that he could not talk to us.  The commander, Y., explains that the taxis did not wait their turn.  When we ask if they are being punished - he denies it.


7:50 a.m.

The driver of one of the taxis is carrying four teachers.  He comes over to us: he wants to take the teachers to school and is prepared to return to the roadblock and stay there for as long as necessary.  After a few minutes the driver and the passengers have their documents returned and they go on their way to school.

There are about 20 vehicles in the queue south.


Huwwara

The roadblock is empty.  Later in the shift a few people arrive now and then.  The humanitarian lane is open.

A Palestinian explains to us that the low number of those crossing is due to the closureinfo-icon.


8:20 a.m.

There are two women with a babyinfo-icon in a buggy accompanied by an elderly woman who stumbles along.  They are on their way to Nablus.  They ask if they can cross to the left of the roadblock.  The soldier agrees to their request after they plead and try to explain the reason they want to cross here.  However, before he lets them cross he checks their baggage.  So that they do not enjoy the treat he gives them by letting them cross here?  Or, maybe, the fact that they want to cross this way, rather than through the turnstile, makes them suspect?


8:35 a.m.

A Palestinian who needs to renew his vehicle licence wants to go into Nablus, but he is not permitted to do so because his licence is out of date.  We approach the roadblock commander, Y., who agrees to our request that he talk to the driver, and allows him through.


9:00 a.m.

From time to time just a few people cross the roadblock.  A larger number of pedestrians cross into Nablus.  The turnstile holds up those leaving Nablus to an extent, and again we ask:  if the army is sure that there is some need for inspection and the turnstiles are necessary - why did they only put in one turnstile?

We left the roadblock for Beit Furik.  It is quiet there, very few people at the roadblock, no movement of vehicles.


9:15 a.m.

We left the roadblock.

'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Mon 1.10.07, Morning

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Observers: 
Osnat R., Moria (new member), Frances T. (reporting)
Oct-1-2007
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Morning


9.40 Anabta

A long line of 20 cars in the direction of Tulkarm suddenly disperse when we arrive, probably the result of a negligent soldier. There is a line of about 12 cars in the other direction undergoing cursory checks.

We point out the various blocked entrances to a number of Palestinian villages to our new member, Moria.


10.30 A-ras

No lines.

Abu Dis, Container (Wadi Nar), Ras Abu Sbitan (Olive Terminal), Mon 1.10.07, Afternoon

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Observers: 
Yael I., Ruth O., Orit Y. (guest) and Ilana D. (reporting)
Oct-1-2007
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Afternoon

Since Orit had not yet seen the Eastern CP’s we showed her around.

Zeitim CP - looked almost deserted. There were a few schoolchildren returning from Jerusalem hopping on transits and cabs to get home. The drivers said that there was hardly any work due to the closureinfo-icon.

A man dropped off his wife and two young children – he had no permit to cross with them.

We drove via the Eastern side of the wall in Abu-Dis to The Container - A soldier warned us that Israelis are not allowed to continue. We knew.

A car had been completely emptied out; its driver was in the lock-up. A girl soldier with a dog, trained to sniff explosives, checked out the car.

Traffic flowed at reasonable pace in both directions. Some workers employed in Ma'aleh Adumim (despite the closure) passed without delay. A blue police car came to inspect the suspicious car and checked the number of the engine. The girl soldier told Ruth to delete the photo of the dog from her camerainfo-icon. “It is an ‘army’ dog and can therefore not be photographed.” Ruth obliged. The driver of the car was apparently investigated, but not released.

We left via Kedar and the new road and tried from the East (Mishor Adumim) to approach the newly built police station on top of the mountain. The road is not yet finished; the Police Station looks enormous.

Az-Za'ayyem - We entered Az-Za'ayyem via the parking lot beyond the CP (the soldiers watching the passage to A-Tur beyond the tunnel under the main road now have a concrete structure against the elements). We talked to some people in the grocery store. A young man related that he does not dare register his two young children in his blue ID Card. He cannot afford to pay the rent in Jerusalem (2,000 NS as against 600 NS. in Az-Za'ayyem), but is actually not allowed to sleep outside the city boundaries. If he goes to the Ministry of the Interior to register his children he will have to bring proof of paid electricity bills and Arnona of three years back to show the authorities that he indeed lives in Jerusalem, or else he will lose his blue ID card.

An older man, the Mukhtar, told us that the rich man across the street whose house is abandoned had a heart attack and couldn’t benefit from medical services unless he moved to Jerusalem, so he now lives in Beit Hanina and the Mukhtar watches the house for him. He told us that he has a large stock of bric-a-bracs, which he gets from a supplier in Hebron. It is all imported from China and very cheap. They asked us whether our work has any impact.

We drove to the Border Police compound (an architectural gem) and noticed the newly built road (almost nearing completion) with a tall wall in the middle which will soon constitute a faster link to Hizme with the lanes for Palestinians further down and those for Jews higher up - to ensure proper separation and apartheid.

As we drove via Mount Scopus towards Abu-Dis the Muezzin announced the end of the fast. All traffic vanished and the roads became empty. The soldiers looked at us as we tried to get close to the PishPash with our car. When we approached the Cliff Hotel we were stopped and told that only people with permits are allowed to enter through the gate.

Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Shooting, Holding and trading of combat materiel

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יום א' 30.9.07, בוקר

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Observers: 
Watchers: Sharon V., and Ditza Y. (reporting)
Sep-30-2007
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Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.

Za'atara
 
7:30 a.m.
A bus from the west is being checked, behind it there are 12 vehicles waiting in the queue.
To the south:  two taxis are detained.  According to the passengers: one since 5:00 a.m., and the second one for about the last 20 minutes.
We went up to a soldier whom we mistakenly thought was the roadblock commander; he claimed that he could not talk to us.  The commander, Y., explains that the taxis did not wait their turn.  When we ask if they are being punished - he denies it.

7:50 a.m.
The driver of one of the taxis is carrying four teachers.  He comes over to us: he wants to take the teachers to school and is prepared to return to the roadblock and stay there for as long as necessary.  After a few minutes the driver and the passengers have their documents returned and they go on their way to school.
There are about 20 vehicles in the queue south.
Huwwara
The roadblock is empty.  Later in the shift a few people arrive now and then.  The humanitarian lane is open.
A Palestinian explains to us that the low number of those crossing is due to the closureinfo-icon.

8:20 a.m.
There are two women with a babyinfo-icon in a buggy accompanied by an elderly woman who stumbles along.  They are on their way to Nablus.  They ask if they can cross to the left of the roadblock.  The soldier agrees to their request after they plead and try to explain the reason they want to cross here.  However, before he lets them cross he checks their baggage.  So that they do not enjoy the treat he gives them by letting them cross here?  Or, maybe, the fact that they want to cross this way, rather than through the turnstile, makes them suspect?

8:35 a.m.
A Palestinian who needs to renew his vehicle licence wants to go into Nablus, but he is not permitted to do so because his licence is out of date.  We approach the roadblock commander, Y., who agrees to our request that he talk to the driver, and allows him through.

9:00 a.m.
From time to time just a few people cross the roadblock.  A larger number of pedestrians cross into Nablus.  The turnstile holds up those leaving Nablus to an extent, and again we ask:  if the army is sure that there is some need for inspection and the turnstiles are necessary - why did they only put in one turnstile?
We left the roadblock for Beit Furiq.  It is quiet there, very few people at the roadblock, no movement of vehicles.

9:15 a.m.
We left the roadblock.

Bethlehem, Fri 28.9.07, Morning

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Observers: 
Erat B., Tirza L. (reporting)
Sep-28-2007
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Morning

 Third Friday of the month of Ramadan


 

7:45 - Bethlehem CP 

Outside the checkpoint, on the Israeli side there  is a lot of activity - dozens of people and vans for picking up passengers. There is no correlation between the commotion outside and the activity within the terminal building: there is very little traffic, there are three lanes open and none of them have a line of more than five or six people. The apparent reason is the restriction on entering Israel. In contrast to the few Palestinians in the terminal there are approximately fifteen security personal: police and military patrolling the lanes and the area above us. In a response to our question we are told that only men above the age of fifty and women above the age of forty are allowed entrance. In one of the lanes we notice an argument developing between a waiting person and the soldier in the checking booth. He is fifty years and four months. She says he must be over fifty. We explain to her that above fifty means any day past one's fiftieth birthday. After about ten minutes he is permitted to pass.

An officer approaches us. She tells us that she was instructed to escort us outside. We ask her who issued the order and she says it's from her commander who got it from Roni the Terminal commander. We leave and call Roni who tells us he will instruct the soldiers to let us stay.

Back inside there is a lot of noise of the soldiers reading instructions to waiting Palestinians through the loudspeakers. We can hear especially rude language coming from one of the checking booths: “Go! Get out of here! Go home! Come on, go! Don't speak to me in Arabic! I don't speak Arabic!” She speaks in a loud voice to the people waiting in line. We tell her commanding officer who tells us she will talk to the soldier. We mention her behavior to a senior police officer who is on the scene. He can hear it to and feels uncomfortable. He tells us he will talk to her. Most of the people get through (most of the people who came today meet the permitted profile to begin with). However, every now and then a father and son (the son is fifty five), a mother and son or a couple (in their sixties) are told they must separate. They are told (usually the man) the he is restricted. We can see surprise, hurt and frustration on their faces when they are told. A thirty nine year old woman arrives; she wants to pass and pray. We can see the hurt in her face - only women who are older than forty can pass.


We leave at 9:00. on the our way we get a report from the
Ecunemical Accompaniers that there are hundreds of people waiting on the Palestinian side.