'Anabta, Qalqiliya, Tue 6.1.09, Afternoon

Facebook Twitter Whatsapp Email
Maki Sh., Merav A. (reporter) Translator: Orna B.

Gaza is being ground to dust at a distance of several dozen
kilometres from here, but in the West Bank the checkpoints are
operating as usual. 
12:50 Jubara Checkpoint
Almost empty. No vehicles.
13:10 Anabta Checkpoint
No queue of vehicles. Quick inspection. Cars with Israeli licences
are allowed through with the proper documents, entering and exiting
with no trouble. Those without the necessary documents move into
vehicles with Palestinian number plates, before they reach
the checkpoint and then proceed. One sees whole families doing this
'back to back' in a small way: two vehicles park right next to one
another; luggage, suitcases, children and babies are being transferred
rapidly from one vehicle to another, before carrying on.

15:15 Qalqiliya Checkpoint
A long queue of about 50 vehicles at the entrance to the town.
This is the only way into a town numbering around 45,000 inhabitants.
"Qalqiliya is like a bottle and this is its cork" [ the word cork in
Hebrew also means traffic jam], tells us one of the cab drivers in the
parking lot next to the checkpoint. A 'randomal' inspection of
vehicles: about every third vehicle is inspected. The inspection is
done slowly - they open car boots, check documents, peer inside.
At the entrance there is a large sign: "Dear citizen, by the order of the IDF commander in the area, the entrance to this vllage is forbidden to Israelis". 
We were wondering how a town the size of Nahariya suddenly becomes a
'village' in the language of the occupation. Someon else must have
understood the mistake and the word 'village' had rubbed out roughly on
the sign in Hebrew and in Arabic, but remains in English. See the
picture attached.
At the checkpoint, reserve soldiers tell us to move away from the
the checkpoint. Every time we approach they stop the inspection. "You
are causing the queues" the soldiers explain to us the queues that were
there before we arrived.
At the parking lot - again 'back to back' exchange, but this time
of goods. A tractor transfers parcels from one lorry to the next. The
goods are made in Israel. The lorry carrying an Israeli number plate
cannot enter Qalqiliya and therefore its cargo is rapidly transferred
to a lorry bearing a Palestinian number plate.