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Checkpoints in May
`Machsom Watch`- is an Israeli women`s organization that deals with one of the most severe aspects of the occupation- the restriction of the Palestinians freedom of movement.
“You have clothing; You be our ruler, And let these ruins be under your power` (Ishaiah 3:6- Taken from the New King James translation)
In our times as well, the person in uniform is king and with the power granted to him by his uniform and the weapon he bears, he can make any decision concerning the life of the `invisible prisoners`- people caged inside enclaves that are surrounded by roadblocks.
The soldiers who serve in the civil administration were busy `looking for Antoine`, and they couldn`t see the suffering on the faces of the hundreds of people there. Could it be that the shielded glass, through which all activities are preformed, is the element that causes their insensibility? All the new improvements, the new offices, the turnstiles that are activated by a remote control and the machine that perform the biometrical examination- they all cause their ears and eyes to close in front of the human scream. We too, as the ones to document, are regarded as a `threat to security` that must be moved far away from the sites of the occupation, and that must be stopped before exposing the Israeli eye to `security secrets` that every Palestinian sees each day…
At the roadblock was a Palestinian in his twenty`s, he was documenting what was going on. He told us that it was in his own privet initiative but that to the soldiers he said he does it for Machsom Watch. The DCL representative started to panic because of the young man. The soldiers confiscated his notebook and the DCL representative called his commanders and told them that the notebook had in it INW-Information Before War. We tried showing him how silly this was, after all it`s not a military secret- Palestinians know how the roadblocks work, but that didn`t help. The young man was taken to the isolation cell and then sent away for the regiment to take care of this. The notebook was translated by one of the soldiers and the DCL representative said there were some political statements in it- it said that there shouldn`t be any roadblocks and that this territory should be under Palestinian authority`s control. This shocked the DCL representative deeply and served him as proof that he was right and the young man was in fact a security threat. The young man was still in isolation when we left (Huwwara 7.5.2007).
The renovated DCL
Anyone who needs to be at the DCL to make arrangements that have to do with his work or because he was invited by the GSS- has to wait by the rail near the gate. Once in a while a soldier came out and yelled at everyone `stand back by the concrete` (meaning they should stand in a distance of about a hundred meters, near the parking lot). After about 15 minutes someone yelled at the gate `Antoine, Antoine`. We paid the soldiers attention to the fact that since they told everyone to stand by the concrete no one could hear them. The answer was: `Ok, so if he can`t hear me it`s as if he went away`. Later a soldier got on the roof (to the guarding site) and also started yelling `Antoine, Antoine`. This reoccurred several times. (DCL Ezyon 21.5.2007)
The workers were supposed to renew their hand prints. They went to the DCL at Hebron and when they got back to Bethlehem roadblock they found out that their prevention hadn`t been lifted and that it sill appeared on the computer. (Bethlehem roadblock 9.5.2007)
The biometrical examination
The biometrical examination identifies a person according to his hand print. Every person passing at the roadblock has a biometrical card that contains all the information according various photos and his hand print. The hands of the laborers that have very difficult jobs in which they use their hands (agriculture, construction, jobs that have to do with keeping their hands in water for hours and so on) are cracked and roughed so the biometrical machine can`t identify them. In the confrontation between this state of the arts technical equipment and the hand labor of the laborers from the occupied territories, electronics has proved to be a failure. The workers with their hard and cracked hands are sent back and fro from the roadblock and back.
Beit Furik roadblock
At 12:00 A` called and reported that a family was being detained at Beit Furik roadblock, Muhamad and his brother Jihad with their wives and five children. The soldiers wouldn`t let them get out of the car because Muhamd, who work in a hens-house, had unfortunately bought a knife for a `junk dealer` at Nablus for 50 Shekels, an ABC mask (`the plastic kind from the war against Sadam Hussain`) which was supposed to protect him when spraying the chicks. The soldiers `caught him` with state property and the army`s humanitarian center called the police to see whether it was a criminal offence.
The police didn`t bother to show up. At 17:45, after five and a half hours, the soldier got an order to let them go but to leave the ABC mask with them (it isn`t worth anything as it still has a filter from the heydays of the deceased). (Beit Furik 11.5.07)
There was a young woman escorted by five girls that were of 12 years old or less and a small baby. They were all dressed nicely as they were making their way to a wedding. The woman was from Beit Dajan and she two of the little girls were hers and the other four belonged to her husband`s other wife. They were all from Beit Dajan. The other woman had already passed to Nablus and the husband was to come from Tulkarm. The roadblock commander wouldn`t let the woman pass since four of the girls weren`t written under her ID and she didn`t have their birth certificate (at Nablus district children can`t pass without their escorting parents and they must have their birth certificate). G` from the army`s humanitarian center was able to give us, after making some inquiries, the names of all of the four girls that belonged to the other woman and confirmed that they were in fact from Beit Dajan. He asked that we wait for an answer. After recurring calls to the humanitarian center on this case, we received an answer that `they got an order to let the woman pass`. We waited for the order to reach the commander, the wedding was to begin at 17:00 and the girls were already sleepy. The woman was completely desperate and at 18:00 the commander got a phone call and told us that the woman and the girls couldn`t pass. (Beit Furik 31.5.07)
Have the events that were just described got anything to do with security?
For the attention of the Humanitarian Center
A man tried in vain to get a permit, either for himself of one of his brothers or sisters, so that they could visit their mother that had been through open heart surgery the day before at Mokased hospital and she was there all alone. He was refused since all the family members were prevented passage by the GSS.
We met a man, a father to a baby of twenty five days, that his wife had given birth two months before the intended date, to twins in a Caesarean section due to medical problems. The operation was preformed in a Bethlehem hospital of the Cartias and one of the babies died of infection. The other baby was transferred to the emergency room in Hadasa. The father wanted a permit to enter Jerusalem and replace his wife who was with the baby, as she was still tired and had trouble communicating with the staff there since she didn`t know Hebrew. He was prevented by the GSS. (Ezyon DCL 14.5.07)
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