'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Qalqiliya, Sun 17.8.08, Afternoon
Today, we got the impression that perhaps everyone should relax about the checkpoints, about the Occupation, because few have a clue as to what's really going on. If that's the case, and that seemed to be the case on our monitoring today, why not relax the rules a little? That's indeed what many soldiers appeared to be doing on this hot, sultry summer day. And yet, and here's the rub, the Occupation, in summer heat or winter frost, differentiates not at all the suffering of Palestinians who, day in day out, are subject to the moods and whims of the Occupier.
Before we even reach the checkpoint, and before there's even a chance to take photos at the checkpoint, the commander, a sergeant, starts to threaten and shout about not taking pictures. He rants and raves for a few minutes and says he'll break the camera, etc., etc. What, in fact, has been photographed is the car lot and the Bedouin boys trying to hawk dark woolly socks on this scorching day. As we stand and take no notice, he calls to ask where is our permit to take photos, etc. Since nothing is going on at the checkpoint, and all has been quiet, only a vehicles passing, without being checked in either direction, we soon make our way back to the car.
Shvut Ami Outpost
No settler youth around the unoccupied house, but a large, very large group, of young men, is seated underneath a messy awning on the hill facing the outpost, in an olive grove that probably has been appropriated....
Similar to the above, few vehicles in either direction, but unlike the commander above, this group of soldiers is so relaxed, they wear neither helmets nor caps but are bareheaded. The only action, a group of nine men, probably returning from work, walk straight on, through the checkpoint, the soldiers not looking at them, and they not looking at the soldiers.
A line of vehicles, trying to get through the only open lane. Two settler vehicles by-pass the queue and go on to the eastbound lane, driving westbound, past the checking area. The commander stops the bearded man driving a station wagon, but lets him and the car behind proceed: and why not? After all, they're the "lords of the land."
As usual, slow, since the soldiers have to look in the book for names of those who are permitted to exit or enter Jubara and then have to phone the commander at A-Ras.
A reservist commander, easy going and confident, agrees that it's quiet in the extreme. There's sparse traffic, and what there is, is not checked at all.
We've noted that the lights are on at Gate 753, but here, all is without artificial light (in the extreme, white bright heat of the day) and as quiet as nature intended since the generator is not functioning: three soldiers and their truck stand by trying to make it work.