Only a few hours before the beginning of the New Year, Israeli soldiers installed a portable military checkpoint near the eastern entrance of the West Bank city of Qalqilia, and started to abuse the residents and humiliate them.
Palestinian Photographer Mohammad Athba was present when the army installed a military roadblock at the eastern entrance of Qalqilia, and barred the residents from crossing unless they go through procedures which could only be described as inhuman and abusive.
"I saw dozens of residents forced to empty their bags, while soldiers were throwing the belongings of the residents, carelessly and violently", Athba said, "Soldiers were forcing the residents to lift their clothes, completely, and whenever the soldiers felt that this is not a full exposure of the body they asked the residents to do it again, and again".
"One of the soldiers asked me to leave the area, and not to film the incident…and claimed that this is a closed military zone", Athba added, "I refused to leave, and asked him to show me the military order which declares the area as a closed military zone".
Of course, the soldier did not present any document, and asked Athba to back away for a distance of twenty meters in an attempt to bar him from reporting directly on what is going on at the checkpoint.
Apparently, abuse and humiliation is an OK policy for the Israeli soldiers to use, as long as the world does not know anything about it, and remains silent.
Recently, the harsh procedures were also implemented on several checkpoints around Qalqilia, barring dozens of residents from reaching their orchards which became isolated behind the large concrete Separation Wall and its gates.
The residents, in most cases, have to walk through rough and hilly paths in order to leave or return to their areas, and in order to reach their orchards or what is left of them after being annexed for settlement expansion and the construction of the Separation Wall.
Residents can only enter the city of Qalqilia through the eastern entrance, which is controlled by the soldiers, and their moods, while the southern entrance is designated for the villages, south of Qalqilia.
When the entrances are closed, the whole area becomes isolated, and separated, especially after the Wall snaked around the city and its surrounding villages.
Checkpoints, throughout the Intifada became a new weapon used against the residents, a weapon which killed dozens of residents, and newborns, after the soldiers barred the ambulances from crossing.
Checkpoints became the scene of new procedures and different sorts of humiliation and illegal practices which include forced naked search, insults, and abuse.