Ar-Ram, Qalandiya, Sun 12.10.08, Afternoon

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Phyllis Weisberg, Eva Ferero, Tamar Fleishman (Reporting)

- We made our way through A-Ram checkpoint to Dahayat El Barid neighborhood. The way leading to the square was bad and narrower then it ever used to be. Construction work was being preformed at the metal gate that is to be closed soon and become a barrier between the two neighborhoods.

- We headed on along the Palestinian side of the wall, the main road that has seen better days. Along side the road and by the pave walk, sewage water ran like a small river- so it made the walk more present for the pedestrians.

Qalandia checkpoint:

We met the coffee salesman that a couple of months ago had his livelihood confiscated by the army when they took his cart from him in a violent raid. He is now trying to get things back to normal. He wouldn't dare now to place his chart in the same spot, where pedestrians can actually see his goods. He hides a little: slightly out side of the checkpoint area from the eastern side of the wall which closes the waiting zone. What will he do when winter comes and he has no roof over his head? The coffee salesman told us he had seven children, the two older ones study chemistry at Bir Zait university and his third son is soon to join his brothers. He said he doesn't want his children to work like him for their living and that even in during the holydays he won't allow them to work, he demands that they study and promise themselves a better future then the one their parents had.

Surprisingly he lately got a magnetic card and hopes they approve him a work permit in Israel, where he used to work a lot up until 2001.  

  • - There were two inspection lanes at the checkpoint. They soldier had no control over the sound system when they announced in a deafening volume: "Blue IDs at lane 1, green Ids at lane 3" (in Arabic).

At 16:00 both lanes suddenly closed. There was no explanation why this happened. After 15 minutes of pointless waiting, we started to hear sounds from the soldiers sterileinfo-icon rooms, a female soldier was yelling and some soldiers were banging on a door and shouting. I called the operation room to ask whether the checkpoint had been closed and whether something terrible had happened to one of the soldiers. They promised to find out what had happened and after several seconds the checkpoint opened: The speakers screamed, the soldiers gave out orders in their usual brutal tone, little girls escorted by their sisters were sent back since they weren't specified in the sister's ID... It's so good that things got back to normal.   

Machson Watch at the soldiers' service:

  • A soldier complained to Phyllis that the Palestinians cause many dysfunctions to the x-ray machine and asked that she help (they whole system) explain to the Palestinians that they should stop damaging the machine.

At 17:00 we meet in the parking lot a group of men from the village Mitlon in the vicinity of Jenin. They were caught around noon by some BP soldier near Atarot and their IDs were taken from them. They were 27 men who passed to Israel looking for work. They were kept for 4 hours in an installation that they said belonged to the Muhabarat (GSS): "They kept us there and all the time the called us son of bitchs and stuff like that..." said B, an elder man who spoke flowing Hebrew and was the group's leader. " I told them that this was our first and last time", he said and them added: "Really! I won't allow it any more". After four hours 26 of them were released, their IDs were handed back and they were sent back to the occupied territories. Every one but on 18 year old man, M', that wasn't released with everyone else. "He had disappeared", said B'. 

-I called the company commander of the BP unit, Rami, to find out what happened to M', Rami said he was arrested but wouldn't say why.

- As usual in these cases you can make out most of what is not spoken from what is spoke, that they know what they are doing, that there was a good reason for arresting him and that we mustn't trying investigating what isn't for us to understand...

- I tried penetrating beyond Rami's friendliness, which is nothing more then a way to talk vaguely about the facts, buy speaking kindly to him.

-I said: "If that was my son I would be worried to death" and Rami said that M's mother must be worried, that why they are going to allow him to call home.

-"When will that happen?" I asked, "Very soon", he said.

-"Today?" I kept asking, "yes".

-"Do I have your word?"- "yes!"

-"If he doesn't call you will be hearing from me"- I threatened (yea right...).

I told the rest of the group that M was arrested.

Suddenly they were all relieved and so were we. As though now it was clear what was going on with him. We don't like in security! Now we all know what might happen to him, where he was, and who was holding him- apparently even the vaguest information can give us a feeling of relief, its' better then not knowing. 

  • - As though they (the Palestinians) and we (Machson Watch women) had become used to the reality in which the Palestinians freedom is to be taken from them and that the man in power can do as he likes with it. We don't insist on the reasons and details

What reasons or details can there be?

We told B' that we would try making calls on the next do and find out what happened to M.

Before departing B said we should call during the morning since it would be a Jewish holyday and they would close early.

Happy Sukkoth