Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 16.4.08, Morning
Translation: Ruth F.
Everything was calm at the checkpoints. The DCOs issues VIP document that are supposed to make the passage easier for officials from the Palestinian Authority.
The line from Nablus wasn't long. Buses from Tulkarem were strictly inspected and detained for 20 to 30 minutes.
The lines weren't long. Pedestrians entering Nablus weren't inspected. We didn't spend much time at the checkpoint, we returned later and it was the same situation.
Lieutenant T. from the DCO told us that 102 officials from the Palestinian Authority were entitle to a VIP permit. People with this Document are supposed to be able to pass the checkpoint without waiting in line, and the soldiers must respect that document and its possessor. T. wanted us to make sure that MW women know this, in case the soldier at the checkpoint isn't familiar with the new regulation.
We disagreed among ourselves about the VIP issue. Edna thought that the Authority shouldn’t have agreed to it, that the officials were selling their people off and that the consequences of this would be evident in the next elections. I think that any gesture that reduces the friction with the politicians from the other side is a smart move for Israel, and I as an Israeli have an interest in promoting it.
The tractors were working on the land by the olive plantation. We didn't see any harm cuased to the trees but it would be best to keep an eye on it.
We came to see whether there were any tax collector from the PA as the rumor had it that the closing for Beit Iba CP for trucks was in order to allow the PA to collect tax at Awrta. We didn't see any tax collector. A local merchant said that they arrive each day for an unexpected inspection. We have no proof that relocation of the merchandise transfer to Awrta had anything to do with a conspiracy between the army and the PA but there were cretin signs that this was the case. Either way the welfare of the northern-eastern part of the bank is severe.
For a whole hour the drivers had to moves boxes of medicine and medical equipment from one truck to the other, the other one had a permit to enter Nablus. Such a permit has a critical financial meaning. We thought that apart for the security reasons (which includes the need for inside collaborators), the permits are used to create corruption among the mediating offices, the DCOs and DCLs.
8:10 Beit Furik
Driver waited for about half an hour at the entrance to Nablus. There were no lines at the exit.
The inspections were preformed slowly. The soldiers weren't in a hurry, they slowed the traffic down and the lines on both side had only on inspection post (in this absurd situation we wished that more soldiers would come). A driver of a van that was full of eggs asked that we intervene before the eggs go bad. The checkpoint commander had no patience for our nagging, but the line had mysteriously disappeared.
We had also visited in some houses at Beit Furik and Burin. Afterwards we drove to the local council of Kosin to place a request for a special license for the passage of trucks at Beit Iba. By chance we had arrived during a meeting the women of the village had with a mental health counselor. As usual we were immediately invited to join them. At the end of the meeting the counselor handed out questionnaires about the discovering of mental problems. One of the women peeked at the questionnaire and said that according to what it says everyone in the room is insane. Considering the state we are in, how could things be different?
We drove on the road and saw settlers at the illegal settlement that had been dismantled so many times before.
We collected some random numbers about the wages around Nablus.
An urban worker: 50 ₪ per day.
The monthly wages of a secretary/clerk with a BA: 1000 ₪
A junior clerk that works for the PA: 1200₪ per month.
A policeman: 2000₪ per month.
The wages of a farmer from a village: 5 ₪ per hour.
The payment for a kindergarten that is open 4 hours a day: 35₪ per month (one kindergarten teacher watches 30 children from 4 to 50 at her home).
An anaesthesia technician at a hospital: 2000₪ per month.
We had talked for a long time with the anesthesia technician (we had no idea there was such a proffesion) at her home. While she was at high school the army had shoot her boyfriend. She used to visit him at the hospital and saw him die with great anguish. She didn't tell her parents about him or his death, but she decided to study anesthetics. Her eyes filled up with tears as she told us she had no wish for revenge. She doesn't want to waist her life at home with her children; she wants a job, a car and a good life. The hospital she worked for didn't have a budget and she was fired. At the moment she is unemployed. Her biggest dream is to have a permit to leave the bank and study at Hadasa in Jerusalem. She asked us whether Israelis knew about the hard conditions in which the Palestinians live. When we said that most Israelis aren't interested in what was going on at Nablus and see all Palestinians at potential terrorists, she was amazed.