(published originally on January 30, 2009)





I just wanted to thank you for allowing us to join you again to a shift. For me it was deeper and more comprehensive, in regard to my own insights.

I’ve wrote down here some of my impressions. I decided not to publish it in my own blog. It’s not a political blog, and these impressions are conceived as political because of the delicate situation.


If you find it fitting and feel like publishing it in your own blog – you are more than welcome.







Theatre of Absurd


In the midst of the wild west, a no-man’s land, a lawless state, we stand spectating the machine of occupation. Under occupation!


The wheels of the machine turn slowly, its squeaking monotonous, like the movements of the men exiting the carousels, faltering on shoes just now untied, waiting to re-tie them properly on the other side, fastening the belt back on the loops of their pants. A checkpoint routine. A checkpoint that separates one Arab village from another. Or a larger Arab town. You can’t help but ask yourself what are “we” doing here.


Beside the carousles with the trickle of men exiting it, there is a road with a long convoy of cars, advancing slowly. As we approach, the queue miraculously begins to flow. You can’t help but wonder of the arbitrariness and randomness of the gateway.


Then the queue stops again. A Bus wishing to pass through stands still, and all its passengers are requested to hand over their IDs, and get off the bus. The are familiar with this drill by now, and they perform it as a habit. Now you hand over the ID, now you get off, now you go back on again, now you go. If it didn’t happen every day, sometimes twice a day, it might have been exciting at least. But it isn’t. You can’t help but wonder when the cry that is suppressed inside for so long will break out and make the heavens tremble.


On the other side a private car is signaled to stop. Two guys step out. They are asked to stand aside. The car is approached by an entourage of a female soldier from the dog-unit with her dog and an armed soldier. We come near to see better. It is unbelievable. The soldier stands with an intimidating posture of his legs spread-wide, between us and the car, holding the dog and with his finger on the trigger of a loaded gun. Apparently, we are endangering him in some way. The dog is finding it hard to fill her duty, and we are asked to move away. We step back. That makes all the difference, evidently. “I’m asking you to stop taking photographs. It disturbs my duty”, says the female soldier.


“This is an open civilian zone. There is no law prohibiting taking photos”


“You’re not allowed to take photos of me. You are offending my right to privacy”


This is probably the punch-line. Only they forgot to add the laugh track in the editing room.


The officer comes and asks us to move away. “We are allowed to be here. There is no law that prohibits it from us”


“There is a law,” he says, not losing his wits for a moment. “I am the law here”.


The wild west, no-man’s land, a state with a different kind of law.



The photos are from this past Tuesday, January 27, 2009. Beit Ibba checkpoint (west of Nablus).






Ayala – When I started writing my blog in Hebrew, I wanted readers to join me. That was my purpose, that was the point of the blog. And the thing I wished for the most was that readers would write their own views on the checkpoints.

Thank you. The deed is yours, not mine, and it is heartwarming.



Click here for a Hebrew version of this post.

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10 Responses to Testimony

  1. Nina says:

    Dear Yaara, I read about the bulldozer attack in jerusalem. Do you have any information about that? Thanks so much. Please give my best regards to Ayala and your friends @ machsom watch.

  2. אריה says:

    Hi Nina,

    Here’s the report in the NYT:


    Any other information you were looking for?


  3. nina says:

    Thanks Aryeh. I found another info about it @ http://www.imemc.org/article/59136
    This circle of violence is horrible…
    And this incident will give another justification for more home demolition and more violence.

  4. אריה says:

    Violence always breeds more violence. I think both sides are well aware of that. – Aryeh.

  5. yaara says:

    It is not necessary for violence to breed more violence.
    Hey Nina – great to see you here again.

  6. Aryeh says:

    You are right, of course. Generalizations are so… never mind.

    It tends to be the immediate response in most people. In order for violence not to be responded by violence, one has to have a strong will to stop the circle of violence, and strong control of oneself. These are rare.
    But I concede that I formulated my opinion too harsh and pessimistic – not uncharacteristically.

  7. Nina says:

    I understand your points, Aryeh. Sometimes, no, almost all the time it’s hard to see the silver lining in this situation.

    Hi Yaara, thanks for your walm welcome as always 🙂
    We have flood here in Jakarta and everywhere else in Indonesia. Jakarta isn’t a great city to raise children (but who am I to complain…sorry). We’re moving to other city (Balikpapan in Borneo) perhaps April. I hope i can still have my internet connection there.

  8. yaara says:

    I hope you’d have internet connection there.
    Here, winter is (usually) like summer. Hot, and almost no rain. Depressing.

  9. Abbey says:

    May sound silly but what are the dogs trained specifically to sniff for?

    and how does the woman say her privacy is invaded with a straight face…lol

  10. yaara says:

    Thank you for your visit, Abbey.

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