'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Beit Iba, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Tue 22.4.08, Morning
Translation: Charles Kamen
Beit Iba checkpoint, 7:00 – 8:10
On route to the checkpoint, a relatively short line of workers and vehicles at Eliyahu Gate and the Qalqilya checkpoint. When we arrived at Beit Iba, - a very long line of people crowded around the security gate, women and older people not being checked. During the shift the DCO arrives and the soldiers – whether because of this or not – also let younger people through without checking them, which immediately eliminates the line. Relatively few people leaving Nablus, people take of their belts and move quickly. Vehicle traffic moves easily the whole time.
Many people, and very busy during the entire shift, so that whenever someone starts being checked a relatively long line forms immediately, and very soon the soldiers let everyone through without checking them and the line disappears.
Anabta, 8:20 – 9:00
Few vehicles on the way in and out of Tulkarm. According to the soldiers, there are no restrictions on people passing through. As we’re leaving, the taxi drivers call us over and complain that they’re continually being pushed farther and farther away from the checkpoint. When we wanted to speak with the commander, they asked us not to complain so they wouldn’t be harassed even more. The person who sells coffee tries to get near the checkpoint and the armored personnel carrier immediately moves him away, a tangible example of the drivers’ complaints.
Ar-Ras and Jubara 9:10 – 10:20
We waited about 20 minutes at Jubara for the gate to be opened – the key had disappeared.
When we arrived at A-Ras we saw three young men waiting in the blazing sun. They said they regularly transport fish food from Tulkarm to Qalqilya and pass through the checkpoint every time. They have all the necessary documents, and don’t understand why this time they’re being held up. The soldiers at the checkpoint say that they’re not responsible for the delay. Someone in an armored personnel carrier calls the Palestinians over, one by one, by name, frisks and interrogates them. Finally, after waiting an hour and a half for no clear reason, they’re released. We don’t get any answers from the soldiers in the APC when we ask for an explanation; they’re unwilling to talk at all. We leave, very concerned about what we saw. Before going on we stopped, as usually, to see Abu Hatam, and try to explain to them why it is forbidden to eat leavened bread during Passover.