Azzun, Jit, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Sun 10.2.08, Afternoon
"Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage" came to mind
today as we ponder the idea of being imprisoned. The checkpoints,
bars and gates, separation barriers, walls and fences, curfews and
the Occupier's law may keep people physically imprisoned, but "sumud"
and the human mind are the ultimate escape, and remain forever free.
At the entrance to the checkpoint, the usual police barricades, but
the not so usual sight of several young men in handcuffs, sitting on
the ground by the police trailer. No time to go to Ar-Ras or Anabta
today, from the main road, we see that although many yellow taxis are
parked there, traffic seems to be flowing smoothly in both directions.
13:45 Junction of Routes 55 and 60
Rolling checkpoint and a Hummer with a full complement of soldiers
pulls over most Palestinian vehicles, about four in line in front of
us. Palestinian vehicles, particularly trucks, attempt to get across
the deep ditches to make their way towards Jenin. At least one is
15:30 Junction of routes 55 and 60
The rolling checkpoint is still in full force, and the line to go
towards Anabta is quite lengthy as we make our way up to Jit, where
there's no checkpoint.
On the way to Qalqiliya
Lots of army materiel on the road, as well as blue police jeeps. The
Shvut Ami outpost seems to be empty, but a settler father and small
son stroll languidly through the field, by the roadway near the
Somewhere along the roadway, a Hummer hides, and as we approach Azzun
we see a giant earthmover and several large army trucks. The access
to the town is completely blocked, not by concrete boulders, as in
the past, but by huge mounds of earth. It looks like the start of a
mediaeval siege, and it's not dissimilar. Azzun is under curfew, but,
at this time, we've no idea if the huge earthworks are for punishment
of the town or for its unlikely protection from marauding settlers.
We're greeted by a long line of taxis, passenger vehicles and trucks,
at least 25, going in the direction of Qalqiliya, but hardly any
leaving. A shouting soldier calls from atop a brand new concrete
contraption from which he's the "monarch" of all he surveys. "Go to
the other side" (of the road), we're told, whereas a passing
pedestrian is told, in the same officious manner, "Go around the
pole, don't walk there." There are five reservists manning the
checkpoint and, as is usual here, there's random checking, random
stopping of vehicles, meaning sometimes a yellow taxi passes,
sometimes a yellow taxi is stopped and thoroughly checked.
16:30 Habla (on the seam line)
It's still half an hour to opening time (of the gate), but already
men, women, horses and carts, trucks, cars and a tractor, as well as
shepherds, goats and sheep have gathered to wait to go home. Many get
off work at 3:00, so have to wait two hours until the Occupier deigns
to open the gate for people to pass from their own fields to their
own homes on the other side of the separation barrier.