Only Permits Pass Here | Machsomwatch
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Only Permits Pass Here

At many checkpoints across the West Bank, separating between one Palestinian village and the next, routine has become fixed. The soldiers, working like bored union clerks, seal themselves tight (apparently by order), and allow passage at the checkpoint by permit only. That the permit is attached to a human being is an immaterial fact. That there are human beings without permits, but with a need to pass, is insufferable.
Such imperviousness is the opposite of applied judgment. The occupation does not permit the checkpoint soldiers to use their judgment, lest they are tempted to see the being facing them as a man or woman with simple human needs, and simple human capabilities. Judgment is turned off and sensitivity disconnected.
So, if you have no permit, there is no point in coming to the checkpoint.
The following is an example from a "routine" report
Reihan, Shaked, Tuesday, 9.10.07 am
Observers: Sima, Shula B (reporting)

07:40 the last of the schoolchildren from the Seam Zone arrive and cross the checkpoint to school in Tura (on the West Bank).
A taxi arrives and a number of people alight, among them Sabariah, an older woman (our age...), stout.
Where to?
How are you?
I`ll be alright, God willing. But if you are already asking, maybe you can help me transfer my washing machine from Tura to my home in Dahar el-Malekh? My hands are worn out from laundry.
She shows us her reddened hands.
From Tura to Dahar el-Malekh is only five minutes on foot, but with a checkpoint (Shaked) in the middle. And from here, says the soldier, no electric appliance, and certainly not a washing machine, will ever pass! He sounds determined yet indifferent at one and the same time, after all, it`s a minor event from his standpoint. The resolution in his voice is challenging. Never? It can sometimes rains in mid summer, can`t it?

We called Colonel Fares, Head of DCO Salem. He was quite cooperative over the phone, contending that there is something called an exceptional coordination procedure." He advised the woman to talk to the head of Dahar el-Malekh council, and he will approach the DCO for an exceptional procedure to transfer the washing machine through Shaked Checkpoint.  He is convinced that the problem will be solved, and we should report back to him on what happens.
We left the checkpoint and, on our way home, turned right into Dahar el-Malekh. We asked the first person we met if he knew where we could find the head of council, and he introduced himself as a council member who could deal with the matter. Sabariah (what else) is his uncle`s wife. He knows the story of her washing machine. Everything they have done till today has not helped. We begged him to phone Fares now, to go today to the DCO, not to give up... We exchanged phone numbers and promised to update each other in the next few days. Who knows... perhaps soon, Inshallah, Sabariah will wash laundry in a machine and her hands will rest.
A week later: the washing machine arrived at Sabariah`s home, but not the direct way via Shaked Checkpoint, a short walk for Sabariah -- as we hoped, but a roundabout way, by vehicle, through the distant Reihan Checkpoint, a few miles and some (lacking) money away.