'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Sun 6.1.08, Afternoon
The adage "necessity is the mother of invention," is usually taken to
mean that if someone really needs something or has a problem, he/she
will find a way of doing or solving it. The Occupier's needs in the
OPT have given rise to the invention of new devices, such as building
a better mousetrap, if you like, to ensnare his captives. There is no
dearth to the Occupier's imagination, skill or creativity in devising
ingenious solutions to deal with the so-called dire situation he
finds himself in. Throughout this decades-old Occupation, there is
lots of evidence proving that to carry on this morally wrong
subjection of another people, the Occupier's requirements as well as
his wishes, cause necessity to be the mother of invention.
The usual blue police car at the entrance to the Occupied Palestinian
Territories, but a Border Policeman leans up against the car, staring
at us, without interest.
13:05 Ar Ras
Little to do for the four soldiers, two at each position, so nobody
up in the crow's nest. One of them practices, or play acts, with his
loaded gun, pointing it into the distance or peering into the gun's
sights as four or five cars and taxis, far down the hill, wait to be
called for perfunctory checking of IDs only.
By the waiting taxis, which jokingly provide a "guard" service for
our car, there's a private back-to-back in progress: a vehicle with
yellow Israeli license plates offloading what looks like boxes of
shoes to a Palestinian truck. As the checkpoint, the "wild animal"
sign, proclaiming who's in charge here at present, seems to have
gone: instead, a blank, blue sign hangs high up on the tower. Later,
one soldier, probably for our benefit, calls out to the
commander: "What happened to our sign? "It turned in the wind," is
the most unlikely response.
For the first time ever, no line, not a vehicle in sight coming from
Tulkarm. On our approach, the nearest soldier, on guard alone,
calls: "Y, we have visitors." Y., in turn comes over to us, and,
another first, extends a hand in greeting and introduces himself.
There are five soldiers here, one, the driver of the army truck
parked at the checkpoint, is a sergeant major with a black clipboard
who seems to be taking inventory, or at least checking
out "conditions" at the checkpoint. A few minutes at the checking
post with the three soldiers there, then he enters the tower, fiddles
with the latch of the door and continues his work.
As for checking, there is none, hence the lack of lines from Tulkarm,
never more than four or five vehicles. To Tulkarm, a Tammimi bus,
which is full, is waved on: everything moves, whether Israel (yellow
plates) or Palestinian (green license plates).
16:00 On the road to Qalqiliya near Kedumim
Contrary to all we, and you, have read, the settlement outpost
activity is alive and well and continues apace. By the pink house,
there's a white mini bus, a man, atop whose head a large bright,
white kippa, a group of young women and a whole host of small
children. Stay tuned for the latest goings-on probably during the
visit of their protector, the President of the USA, later in the
week. All afternoon long, endless streams of settler vehicles whiz
16:10 At the junction with the road to Emmanuel and Ariel, just
beyond Fonduk, a rolling checkpoint: a Hummer and two soldiers stop
all Palestinian vehicles, including buses and taxis, on their way
The DCO representative's white jeep is parked, and there are four
soldiers, again no longer Border police, stationed here. Little
traffic in either direction, vehicles going into Qalqilyqa, Israeli
(yellow plates) and Palestinian (green plates) are waved on. "No
problems" says the soldier who tells us he's the commander here, but
he immediately creates problems by telling us where we can't
stand: "Not on this side of the road, and not in the roadway" and
waves his hands, gesturing to somewhere in the distance. His purport
is probably for us to stand in the muddy sand off the tarmac or, to
place ourselves near the red sign telling us where the area that is
not Area A is….We don't heed his words, but carry on – back to the