Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Wed 11.2.09, Afternoon
At the Shomron crossing Nadim is stopped and asked to identify himself. The soldier has not heard of Machsomwatch. Racheli protests to the soldier as to why he does not ask for her ID, is it because she is Jewish. The soldier in his "lord of all your survey" manner orders us to stand at the side and "dry out" for some minutes and then allows us to go on.
In the area before the checkpoint soldiers and the commander go through and order the kiosk owners to move away. We tried to intervene and asked the soldiers why they do not allow them to make a living. The commander says in the beginning that it is because of security reasons and afterwards change the version and said that he was just carrying out the orders of the brigade commander. He does not know where they can make a living. "Maybe in Huwwara or in Nablus." Why do they not leave them in peace and how exactly are they a threat to the security with the small modest kiosks. Has one minute been given to the thought? The soldiers moved off and the kiosk owners returned to their routine.
The boy who sells the coffee came to us and called our attention to a man
He said that settlers had accused him of throwing stones. Before we could get to him he was pushed into a police van. Rachel spoke to the representative of the DCO who said that the man had admitted that he had thrown stones. The van went off with its booty inside it. It did not take long before we saw soldiers leading a second man also blindfolded and handcuffed and he was put into the jeep which drove off. The drivers around did not know what the problem was and went on with their conversation. The routine of the checkpoint.
The line of cars from Nablus was without end in spite of two checking posts. The dogtrainer was present and the x-ray machine. Racheli photographed and the soldiers run out of the checkpoint and shout that it is forbidden. She argues and they threaten to call the police. The matter ends without anything further. This is also the routine. The long procession continues to wait and the soldiers carry out the checking with maddening slowness.
At the pedestrian crossing everything is as usual . I see the long line through the many fences. Far from the "sterile area" as it is called by the army. There are two "sterile" areas at the checkpoint, "sterile" soldiers with their rifles prepared to shoot which is not at all sterile. From inside the posts sterile commands arise, a sort of sterile bark.
"Back. Back. Lift your shirt." A minimal language and efficient which does not waste a moment of time for the individual. A short and measured tone, alienated, which tried to cover and to ignore the mass of people who have to pass through the checkpoint. Whoever is going to work, to the clinic, whoever is with his wife and children, who is going to his wedding, those who in the evening will share the story with his family. All are turned into "ordinary' or "humanitarian" by the lanes of the checkpoint.
One of the "ordinary"passes through and suddenly the routine of the checkpoint is disturbed by the ringing of a call phone. The "ordinary" answers which annoys the soldier who is not prepared for disturbances of her routine security and shouts at him again and again to close the phone. As if the phone call may turn him into a special spy. She calls in the commander and quickly the man switches off his phone and apologizes. He is evidently annoyed but wants to get home in peace.
What does he have to do with the anger which arises in my stomach. And I behind two fences too far away to intervene and feeling so helpless. A taxi driver standing next to me and feeling my frustration tries to encourage me and says that it is good that we come, that when we are here the soldiers behave better. I thought of the telephone call which had frightened the soldier from her lair and suddenly I understood why those detained were blindfolded,.....so that the soldiers should not see their eyes and understand that these Palestinians are also people.
The regular line takes sometimes up to 50 minutes.
A teacher who goes through the "humanitarian" is moved to the ordinary line and takes two hours. He again tries for his privilege in the humanitarian and refused. His picture in the ID has not been signed and is not covered. Racheli asks the humanitarian centre and the captain in charge of the crossings, trying to help him and in the meantime we persuaded him to stand in the ordinary line. When we left he was still there.
The line of cars from Nablus moving slowly.
On the way to Yitzhar a rolling checkpoint.
At Bruin two cars being checked.