'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Beit Iba, Qalqiliya, Shave Shomron, Te'enim Crossing, Mon 9.2.09, Morning
Frances T., Osnat R., Translaor:Charles K.
Qalqilya, Beit Iba
06.45 Qalqilya is quiet. We see 2 soldiers checking entering vehicles and 2 those exiting. One of the soldiers appears to be reading a book. There are few checks, mainly of license plates of Israeli cars entering. We leave at 07.00.
07.30 Beit Iba. Also here quiet reigns. When we position ourselves in the pedestrian crossing, the officer in charge comes over and introduces himself. He is very pleasant and correct and requests that if there is any problem or question that we speak to him directly and not to the soldiers on duty. There is a dog handler at work checking the occasional vehicle. We leave after one hour with very little to report.
08.35 Shavei Shomron. We drive past to make sure that the road is open. There is a military presence in the middle of the road and a parked Palestinian police car. The soldiers appear to be talking to the Palestinian police but the car drives off . The traffic is flowing freely with some checks.
09.10 Anabta. There is a line of cars from the direction of Tulkarm but no checks. The soldiers here are unfriendly and do not acknowledge us. Nothing significant to report.
09.30 Teenim crossing. As usual, we request the soldiers to open the gate to let us through to Ar Ras. The reply is that “they are checking”. We wait 5 minutes and no sign of any one coming to open. I walk over to the crossing from the gate and am quizzed about Machsom Watch. One of the soldiers gives me skeptical comments about the organization and the rest ignore me. When I repeat my request for someone to kindly open the gate, I am told that they still haven’t received permission. I again request that they contact their commander and am told to wait as “they are eating”. We wait 15 minutes for someone to finally come with the key. At Ar Ras there is a long line of cars coming from both directions. It appears that the soldiers are taking a break and only 2 are on duty. They are checking all vehicles and causing long delays to the traffic. Their attitude to us is antagonistic. We contact the humanitarian center in an attempt to have someone intervene but no real progress is made, It appears that this is a new unit who are going “by the book” and they ignore any efforts by us to have the line of cars dealt with more quickly. We leave in the direction of Qalqilya not wishing to spend another 15 minutes waiting for someone to open the gate for us. We pass by Qalqilya on the way as we hear that traffic there is heavy, however things have improved by the time we get there and lines seem to have cleared.