'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Sun 28.10.07, Afternoon
What is reality, in the practical, not the philosophical, sense? For
those of us who travel, week in, week out, into the Occupied
Palestinian Territories, it's the state of things as they actually
exist, where we pay attention to what is really going on. Our
problem, in these days of "reality" television, itself a misnomer, is
that our government and popular media are constantly reducing,
restricting and contriving reality – manipulating the actual,
controlling how people perceive reality, or how they will react --
which is easier than controlling reality. So our task is to enlarge
everyone's reality to go and take a look around to see what is out
there. Which is why it's so important to take visitors with us on
13:50 – we take a quick glance at Shaarei Efraim, quiet at this hour,
since it's too early for workers to be returning home, the gun toting
civilian guard giving us a look over as do the blue police at the
entrance to Jubara.
13:55 Gate 753
The formerly named "Children's Gate" sports a large, comfortable
looking coach standing on the east side: the children are returning
from school, but the two soldiers on duty there have to question the
driver (who's probably already done this run with the same kids
earlier in the day), and we're told, in the famous sign language, to
wait our turn to cross. Three children wend their way along the
security barrier road, as they live, literally, on the seam line.
Quiet at this hour, only three or four vehicles in line down the
hill, but the soldiers on duty check everything, every truck
thoroughly before letting it go southwards. As usual no checking
towards Tulkarm. The sergeant commander asks our visitors why they
would come to visit such a site! He gets an answer, as well as an
education, returns silently to the checking post….
Here, as at Qalqiliya, the Palestinian Israeli cars are checked
thoroughly -- racial profiling. The apartheid road is newly decorated
with large banners, tied to the wire fences lining both sides of the
road, proclaiming that youth have come to take over Samaria. Indeed!
Traffic towards Tulkarm moves at a rapid pace, so that in three
minutes there is no line at all, the single soldier at the checkpoint
more intent on telling his commander of our arrival than on dealing
with passing vehicles. On the other hand, the line from Tulkarm
already has 15 vehicles, and the soldiers seem in no hurry to beckon
the first one forward.
14:35 -- a few minutes later, the lack of consistency manifested in
this occupation is again made evident, as cars or trucks are randomly
searched, the idea being, no doubt to "keep them off balance," (the
psychological effects, intended or accidental, are often so much
greater than the gun toting military). An ambulance is stopped, it's
carefully gone over, peered into, and the same treatment is accorded
a (Palestinian) Israeli truck.
Qalqiliya 17: 15
There is no line, swiftly moving traffic, including horse and donkey carts, as well as pedestrians, pass the pumpkin seed eating soldiers who chat but let people return from work without harassment. One Palestinian Israeli truck is turned back. These soldiers (Border Police) could educate the lot we witnessed today at Beit Iba!