Archive for the 'Agriculture Gate' Category

Metal Detector

A while ago I wrote that I would follow up one of my videos about the metal detector at the agricultural gate for people separated from their land by the Israeli barrier. The problem with the metal detector is that it is much more time consuming to get through when it is applied. We have registered 2 hours waiting time from the opening time to all the people are trough people can walk back and bring tractors and donkeys over.

The follow up video shows a slightly different scenario. We had been told that the soldiers had applied the metal detector for the people returning back during the lunch opening hour between 1130 and 1230 the last two days. I went to take a look and here is some of what I saw:

The reason? Most likely the soldiers want to enjoy the AC in the metal detector building rather than stand outside in the sun. If this issue is addressed the magic word of “security” (for the soldiers) will approach the surface quickly and end the discussion according to the farmers. On Monday however, the farmers had a small spontaneous strike/demonstration where they managed to convince the soldiers that tractors and donkeys should be let through as soon as their owners are through the detector. The video shows the implementation of it.


Information on Yom Kippur

This morning we were to an agricultural gate again (the Attil gate for locals). Nothing happened there. It was closed all the time. When I called the answer was that all gates at the West Bank are closed due to the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. Sometimes they do this during holidays. One question is: Why didn’t they inform the farmers in advance?  My little private theory is that once you have put a group of people behind a barrier it doesn’t feels natural to respect them by giving proper information.

Attil Gate Yom Kippur

Farmers waiting for nothing. Jeremy (closest) is not a farmer but one of my colleges.


This morning we were at a different agricultural gate than those we have seen before. I am not an expert in farming, but something tells me that the opening hours might be a little strict here:

The atmosphere and some information on Zeita agricultural gate

Land confiscation

Yesterday morning I went to a different agriculture gate than we normally go to. There I met Jalal. He explains very clearly how the security barrier affects his land:

Two distractions

In many ways it has been a depressive week. We have started off 5 a.m everyday in order to monitor the agriculture gate. Two of the days have been Metal-Detector-Days. Today we have got to know that a new check point is erected.

We have met quite a few people this week as well. All kind of people can tell stories about prison, bombing and isolation.

One of today’s tee visits was on a paradise-like terrace. The ceiling was made of vegetation and the grapes were hanging down towards our heads. Be my guest.

The ruin on the neighbor yard is a different story. The house was simply bombed by an Apache Helicopter according to our hosts. No one of the policemen living in the house was hurt. According to what we are told it is normal that the Israeli defense gives a hint before such events.

There are pleasant events here too. One of the videos below is from the graduation ceremony at the Khadoury University here in Tulkarem. It has some glimpses of the atmosphere when the students and teachers are entering and from the celebration afterwards. The speeches, some of them with a political content, are omitted in the video.

The second video is from yesterday’s friendly between Martaz Tulkarem (blue) and Ramallah (white). This is two of the top teams in Palestinian football.



It is safer this way

I don’t know if the Big Comment of Monday this week was stated as a result of restricted English vocabulary or lack of other perspectives. Anyhow, there are two main options for the soldiers on duty at the agriculture gate we are monitoring:

A: To check without the use of the generator: A big gate opens about 6. Farmers, animals and tractors are allowed to pass if they have valid papers telling they are going to their land. Today everyone was through in 30 minutes. A video gives an impression.

B: The generator is applied: Watch video below:

On Monday it was a B-day. It took more than one hour. And to make it clear: The tractors and donkeys are not investigated closely and can theoretically carry as much scary metal they can hide. We asked the soldiers why they used this method when it is obvious that is worse both in terms of waiting and humiliation: “It is safer this way”. I guess that other considerations are part of it too.

Intelligent Power

There are many thoughts around regarding the occupation. That it’s hard to leave this land for any Israeli government as far as Israel is controlling it, that even an occupier wants security for its population in one or another way etc…

Anyway, much of the Israeli presence here at the West Bank appears to be something more than security. There is someone we should hassle. There is someone we don’t like? Today we were at Beit Iba Check Point situated centrally in the West Bank. Mainly heavy vehicles pass here, whilst people are crossing by foot. On both sides the taxies are mingling.

It is close to all time high temperatures at the moment. In spite of this we registered a waiting time of 1.5 hours for the vehicles. We asked if it was possible to check two cars at the same time in order to increase the car flow through the check point since there were more than enough soldiers to organize this. “Against the orders”, was the reply. However, later on the soldiers changed their mind and started to check to vehicles at the time. Soon the queue was almost gone.

Another check point video with a slightly closer look on the solders than the previous one

We have been told that one of the worst examples of a security installations used to hassle & humiliate people is the Ephraim Terminal (ostensibly a 53 mill $ spending) not far from here. We have planned to take a look, but it is run by a private company. This might make it harder to get a good overview. May be I will bring the story of Abdul Karim in B’tselem when he went through last week later on. It took 80 minutes and several different approaches to detect if he was bringing something dangerous on his way to the beach. Saying that: He is one of the lucky that have a fair chance of getting a permit to go to the beach.

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