'Anata, יום ו' 26.9.08, בוקר

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Mili M., Lea E.
Seriously? Does this make us safer?


  Friday,, the fourth Friday of Ramadan

9:40 This week, there is an elite police unit present.  Seven of them are
standing by the southern side of the road, near two jeeps of police (along the
southern wall).  Their faces are partially covered, and their weapons are
directed upward.  In addition to them, there are about another 20 security
forces -- soldiers, border police, and two security guards-- at the checkpoint. 
There is a lot of vehicular traffic, more than last week at this hour.  In the
open area across the northern wall of the checkpoint, a group of men are
waiting.  At the start of our shift, we thought that this was a group of men who
were not allowed to cross and were waiting anyway to see if they could try again
at a later hour.  We then came to appreciate that this is a procedure, explained
to us by an office, to prevent too many people from gathering together.  All the
men who were not allowed to cross were sent to the same area when their i.d.'s
were taken from them.  Only after 12;30 were they placed on a bus and apparently
taken to Hizmeh.  So, for three hours, all these men who were not in the proper
age category, and therefore could not get the proper permits, were taken from
buses and sent to the same area -- about 50 men. 

The inspections throughout our entire shift were very stringent.  With the
help of police checkposts, a passageway for those with blue i.d.'s was made. 
Apparently, the inspections and entries of people were according to established
procedures.  There were isolated incidents whereby "inappropriate" individuals
-- those who did not fulfill all the criteria were allowed to enter. 

At about 10:30, the number of people gathered near the checkpoint
increased, in front of the fenced in area, and then two policemen on horses were
sent in to push the people back.  This was in spite of the fact that there were
no disturbances, no indication of any kind of violence on the part of the
residents.  It seems that this system also works smoothly because it does not
require interaction or contact with the residents.  The horses march and neigh
and the people run frantically back.  The use of horses happened other times
during our shift.

A little after 11:00, we noticed two UN representatives speaking with the
residents on the street.  After several minutes, they came to the area where the
detaineesinfo-icon were.  They spoke with them and afterwards with the officers and
continues to move around the area, apparently to learn why the people were not
released and to try to change the situation. 

At 11:50, as we were standing on the northern side of the road, near the
first check of pedestrians, we spotted a Palestinian man with his back toward
us. His knees were on the earth and a video was hanging on the fence behind the
jeeps and members of the elite police unit were opposite him.  When we went in
the direction to see what was happening, we did not understand why we did not
spot him earlier.  Two young men turned to us, one of them was the brother in
law of the detainee.  He said that he was already in that position for an hour. 
The policeman was not ready to answer our questions.  We turned to a woman
soldier from the DCL who was there and she stated that he was detained because a
long knife "this long" was found on him.  (She spread her hands some 40
centimeters).  We asked why he had to be in that poisition and she said that she
would check.  After several minutes, they allowed him to sit on the ground.  We
returned to our position on the southern side of the road and spoke with the
brother in law and his friend who were very stressed out from the whole

At 12:30, the detained men were brought together in the corner of the open
area near the northern fence of the checkpoint.  Apparently when they started
the inspections before putting them on the bus, at one point they took the
arrested man in that direction.  Again, we spotted this somewhat belatedly and
quickly went to the inspection area but because it was carried out behind the
building, we went quickly to the other side and thought that we saw the arrested
man placed on the bus with the rest of the detainees, but we were not sure.  The
soldier who previously told us that he was detained because a knife was found on
him said that he was being taken away for investigation.  However, another
officer told us that he was put on the bus with the rest of the men.  From a
telephone conversation on Shabbat morning with the brother in law, we learned
that the arrested man was taken with all the rest of the detainees to Hizme and
was released with the rest of them.