At the checkpoints of Nablus, Huwwara or Beit-Iba, which I know well, you never see settlers. They have nothing to do there. Sometimes they come for a photograph, but that’s pretty rare. But the Hamra Checkpoint is one of those roadblocks on a road used by settlers. They live in the Jordan Rift Valley and either work on a different side of the West Bank or in Israel proper. They pass through the checkpoint quickly, with no delay, although sometimes they will stop to exchange a few words with the soldiers. Palestinian vehicles are held for inspection. Settlers pass by with their eyes apparently shut. On Sunday of this week (April 12, 2009), a Palestinian vehicle stood stuck on the lane intended for Palestinians. Other vehicles did not dare to overtake on the lane of the settlers. They went down to the curb.
At Ma’aleh Ephraim checkpoint on Tuesday, March 31, 2009, a settler stopped to pray. Seven Palestinians stood there handcuffed. It didn’t bother him. A few dozen vehicles of settlers passed by. It didn’t bother them either. Some of them stopped to ask me what I was doing there (or call me a whore).
How do parents explain to their children the daily sight of a vehicle stopped, a man lifting his shirt, turning around, having his bag examined, groceries examined, an ID presented, and all this while the road is open for them. What does a mother tell her son? Children don’t always look away when they’re supposed to.