someone (actually from machsom) posted this video along with a long diatribe of how israel violates palestinians at checkpoints and then later removed it. i watched it carefully and had a few questions.

1.) original poster, why did you remove your post?

2.) what was so offensive about this? i've had more intensive personal searches going into a shopping mall. not only that, there are frequent (and might i even say daily) roadblocks WITHIN israel. license plates are checked, cars are stopped, people get out, people get in and go on their way. if i were to mock the police or even mall security, i'm sure i'd be held too. and if you'll notice the driver is wearing a shirt with the state of israel and palestine and written all over it is palestine. even fatah has agreed to a two-state solution, but this guy was wearing a shirt that indicated that he didn't quite agree. maybe he should have just waved a flag that said, "i'm still for the armed struggle! put the jews into the sea!"

3.) when the soldiers asked the people to get back in the van and told them they would be free to go and they refused, isn't it a bit silly to claim they were detained?

4.) when someone says things like "we want to die" and "we want to make problems for you" what IS the correct response?

5.) how long did you sit at that spot until you saw that ONE event? how many hours, days, weeks, months did it take before you found "something" to show people?

6.) do you think your presence provokes palestinians to behave differently? i see the one guy who was making problems constantly glance into the camera. what a show he put on! i personally feel that the camera presence encourages people to cross lines of appropriateness because they want to put on a show and are hoping to be victims on camera. i think it intensifies conflict, rather than reduces.

7.) what's the deal with this checkpoint now? did you find only this one occasion since this one's closure?

8.) do you also monitor the palestinian police? if not, why not?

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it's not that Machsom Watch only picks out negative interactions. Every day, checkpoints are monitored, and some kind of report is written, in which various issues are recorded. Take, for instance, a look at this 'daily update':

The observers complain here that "the checkpoint is simply far to small to cope with the early morning numbers." This is not propaganda but merely a statement.
They are not just "waiting for something sexy to happen" but do hard volunteer work which is hopefully to result in an improvement of the situation at the numerous checkpoints.

However, you have a point in stating that the presence of a camera can somehow influence the 'actors'. Knowing that a camera is there and they are likely to become 'documentary film stars' makes it hard to believe in the 100% authenticity of the recorded material. Unfortunately, it is the observer at home, in front of his/her computer, who has to interpret that material - and hopefully everybody takes into account the authenticity constraints of those clips.

Still, more than the written material on the website, those clips serve to sensitize a wider (global) public to the situation at the checkpoints. In our era of globalized information, short clips like the mentioned one are popular just everywhere in the world, the distribution is easy and truly 'globalized'. I'm certain that more people (including myself) have become acquainted with Machsom Watch through their videos than through their written reports.

Some Machsom Watch people like New Profile people disseminate lies. There'd be no need for that were their motivations as they claim.
I agree with you, and this kind of posting is part of the reason why Eva is banned from this group.

I agree with you that such messages are not contributing and while there are many issues that we need to correct, we have many positive things that happened and they are not getting to be published since it is not "yellow" enough for the media.

If you look into the different posts and different people who post you will be easily recognize the people who are here to flame for one of the sides, and many others that are here to communicate and create new initiatives. the platform of discussion is empty if we do not create events and projects that help us to engage a different future, not of confrontation rather a future that include all of us.

we must always remember that the subjective and objective are important, we cannot ignore the subjective experience of people; we may not accept their conclusion but many experience no-hope and despair that is subjective and we need to find a place for that too.
MachsomWatch, in existence since 2001, is an organisation of peace activist Israeli women against the Israeli Occupation of the territories and the systematic repression of the Palestinian nation. We call for Palestinian freedom of movement within their own territory and for an end to the Occupation that destroys Palestinian society and inflicts grievous harm on Israeli society.

THAT IS THEIR mission statement

This is one of their reports. It seems to be similar for all checkpoints.

'Anabta, Deir Sharaf, Jubara (Kafriat), Sun 16.8.09, Afternoon
Observers :
Alix W., Susan L. (reporting)


Only a few days remain before Ramadan, a month full of blessings and rewards for Muslims. To prepare to reap the fruits of Ramadan one can well imagine the Occupier going ahead to ensure that life for Palestinians is the exact opposite of charity, patience and mercy. In fact, already this week, we saw evidence of closed, as opposed to open minds, and a pointer that the month ahead will be a long and difficult one in the OPT .

14:40 Deir Sharaf

It's the end of a month of grace, and the beginnings of long lines. Nobody can cross the checkpoint, other than Palestinians since Palestinian Israelis who've enjoyed shopping and eating in Nablus for the past month are excluded. The end of "freedom" to shop and to visit family (many of whom are in Balata refugee camp). Now, it's back to "normal" for the IDF, and the many soldiers, six to eight, at the checkpoint, don't care: "That's the rule today, it wasn't like that yesterday, I don't' know what will be tomorrow." Since many Palestinian Israelis continue to make their journey towards Nablus, and don't yet know the new "rules" there are lines as private cars, trucks, and taxis are made to turn in the middle of the checkpoint.

According to Palestinian friends, last night, there was a big "party" in the centre of Nablus, celebrating the month long shopping festival. We noted that the makeshift parking lot at the "barrel" works is full of cars with yellow license plates (Israeli cars whose owners have made their way to the center of the city by taxi).


No line, no waiting vehicles

Avne Hefetz

We make a detour to visit this settlement on the north side of the arpartheid road leading to Jubara. Plenty of residential buildings are half started, a large military base at the entrance to the settlement and a peaceful Palestinian village, complete with man with white "Keffieh" on a white donkey, wandering down the steep unpaved slope - such a contrast from the pseudo modern settlement a stone's throw away. As we leave, the entry way is barred, and we have to confront two religious private security guards who want to ensure that we are "not Arab....."


Once again a large complement of soldiers here. One saunters over to demand IDs, looks in the trunk, and peering in the back seat, spies a crate of 30 eggs. "You can't pass with eggs." A new security ruling? We pull over, and the commander indicates that the eggs are a problem. After all, we may "wish to sell them." Selling is now a concern of the country's security forces! But they are willing to open the gate leading up to the village.

A soldier is sent to do so, clearly, most unwilling to do anything, he arrives at the agate, stands with his back to us, takes a phone call, and we wait. Finally he unlocks the gate, as slowly as can be, and we're through. We should report here that on our way back, it is again he who has to unlock the gate for our exit, but, again, he does so as slowly as possible He next demands to see the back of the car, the trunk, and then also complains of the 30 eggs, and makes unpleasant noises all the time, expressing his extreme displeasure with our presence.

13:00 Gate 753

On the way through the village, we are glad to see first, that the hamlet now has a real mosque, instead of a loudspeaker blaring out of a plain, concrete building. The latter has now been transformed, with stone siding and crenellations as well as a small minaret: a real mosque. Next, on the north side of the roadway, one of the defunct chicken runs has been revitalized and is filled with white hens. On the south side of the roadway, the runs are as derelict as ever.

By the barrier, a crowd of people, cars and a horse cart. A mirror image on the A-Ras side and in the centre, on the separation barrier itself, a group of soldiers, five of them, doing absolutely nothing. From the locals, we hear that they've been made to wait in the sun for the past three hours. We call the Humanitarian Center even before we talk to the sergeant commander who tells us, "Talk to the inhabitants, I don't talk to you." It's clear the soldiers have done nothing and are still doing nothing. We continue to make phone calls. All at once, the DCO jeep arrives with two soldiers, one captain, one lieutenant colonel: they're here because of the call to the Humanitarian Center. They soon clear up the "balagan" (mess) at the seam zone checkpoint . A man who was smoking in his car was reprimanded by the sergeant commander (for smoking in his own car), and it was because of this that there was a stand off. No initiative shown on the part of the soldiers, or, as may, indeed be the case, a desire to make life as impossible as they could for the local inhabitants. As things begin to move, a woman military police checks off each ID against a list she has in front of her. A laborious and long process, since each person has both an ID and a permit to enter and leave from Gate 753. Both the DCL representatives now berate us, following the sergeant commander, for standing, as we do, in the center of the checkpoint. Both defend the actions and inactions of the soldiers at the checkpoint although it's clear that they're indefensible.
Well, one may of course be for or against the actions of MachsomWatch or other, similar organizations. One may also be indifferent on this whole issue. But all of us here, as peacemakers in the 'virtual democracy' of the 'global network society', should agree that such organizations are the elixir of democracy as such - in this case, of Israeli democracy. Peace cannot happen without democracy, and - in my opinion - organizations like MachsomWatch constantly keep the flame of democracy alive.
Such organisations can indeed be "the elixir of democracy". But only if they do not distort or try to manipulate reality, and make no false or misleading claims.


You certainly have a very low opinion of Democracy and especially Israeli Democracy.

By pure Democratic standards Machsom Watch is an extremely undemocratic organization. The few playing by their own rules telling the majority what they must feel, say and do.

In a democracy it is the rule of the majority through their elected representatives and not policy by a few elderly women who think that the majority is wrong and trying to impose their will in their stead.
But in a 'real' democracy (and I wholeheartedly say that Israel is a real and flourishing democracy) it is exactly this "rule of the majority" that is somehow balanced by dissenting opinions. We should be happy about an environment in which "a few elderly women" can make a change and efficiently object against an assumed majority opinion.

The point is that all groups and everyone should have their say [in a democracy]. The Israeli democracy (and all other 'real' democracies) is not to be honoured because a relatively thin electoral majority triggers the making of a government that subsequently tells the citizens "what they must feel, say and do", but because there is a strong civil society that allows dissent and because there is a plethora of organizations that help the citizens to see certain issues in a different light.

Finally, in a democracy it is the right of every citizen (elderly or not, male or female, Arab or Jew or Christian or whatever) to "think that the majority is wrong". Otherwise, change wouldn't be possible and democracy only an 'empty formula' without any meaning.

In a Democracy the people decide and while dissent is certainly a feature of Democracy. Blatant in the face prevention of carrying out ones duty is not dissent. It is simply a propaganda tactic as well as an indictable offense. When these groups employ foreigners and get paid to disseminate lies and propaganda than it becomes a very serious matter indeed and they should be charges under the law and jailed.

Israeli citizens have recourse to the courts and not to foreign rebel rousers and their money. They are simply a Leftist advocacy group and nothing else.

The Israeli public demanded checkpoints and no one has the right to undermine that demand.Let this group vote the government out but I assure you that whoever is in power will not accede to their silly demands.



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