'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Sun 30.12.07, Afternoon
The Occupation, personified by its army, has numerous sides to it, with today's salient feature being its association to a predator. A predator is sometimes active in seeking out and attacking its prey. Case in point: usually, after night falls, the army preys on the main cities in the OPT as well as each and every village hamlet, and then proceeds to capture and consume a succession of prey. At other times, the predator adopts more of a passive, ambush strategy, waiting for its prey to come forward - at the permanent checkpoints, certainly at the rolling checkpoints, set up at random, often just a few kilometers from a permanent installation, at the agricultural gates, open at certain hours of convenience to the occupier. In all these instances, the soldiers, like Walt Whitman's "noiseless patient spider" weave their web, set their trap and wait for their prey to come to them.
12:45 Habla Agricultural Gate on the seam line:
Fifteen minutes to closing (gate open from 12:00-13:00), three soldiers, and a Hummer positioned across the separation barrier, all three (or is it four) of the gates open, one man waiting, sitting on his haunches, the gates open for a flood of sheep, and a couple of horse drawn carts (not donkey carts).
Soldiers, not Border Police, manning the checkpoint. All vehicles, about eight in line, Israeli as well as Palestinian, stream through speedily.
From Tulkarm, the line of vehicles is endless; we can count no further than 25. Besides traffic from Tulkarm, we notice that there's no Israeli flag stuck to the military lookout tower. Instead, a hand painted sign has been stuck here, bearing an insignia and the words, "Wild Animal Soldiers." No comment. In fact, the present shift bears more similarity to one of the passing semitrailers, bearing the brand name, "Intelligent Power." One soldier even asks for a MachsomWatch card to learn more about the organization, and he and the commander try to run interference for a young man who'd come to the checkpoint with an ID found not only to be to be invalid, but its owner, in fact, had never possessed one of his own, although he was 28 years old.
Cars are checked sporadically, both in and out of Tulkarm. Most cars with Israeli plates speed by, and IDs are also indiscriminately checked, occasionally the soldier going into the tower to enter an ID into the computer, now placed out of the non existent winter rains. Minibuses or semitrailers seem to be stopped at random, the former never entered, but both peered into; well trained pedestrians on their way to Tulkarm, line up, automatically, along the concrete walkways provided.
As the sun goes down, the soldiers' bare heads get covered with their helmets, there's little traffic, although each vehicle, coming from Tulkarm is stopped and checked, so the line down the hill grows from zero to six in a short time.
It's busy here as people go in and out of the village, and each vehicle or pedestrian is checked by one of the two soldiers in the tent like structure on the separation barrier. The soldier leans into the open car window and goes over whatever he can see with his hands. Checking, checking, and more checking. Endless.