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Palestinian driver forced to unload truck despite papers

Ali Waked | YNet News

10 September 2009

The driver of a truck loaded with boulders drove last Friday to the Palestinian town, Ras Tira, to deliver his truck’s contents.

He was shocked to discover that, despite having all the proper documentation for delivering the goods signed by Israel’s Coordination and Liaison Authority, IDF soldiers at the checkpoint asked him to unload the boulders so that the bed of the truck could be checked.

The separation fence splits Ras Tira from the main bloc of Palestinian towns in the West Bank, creating an enclave on the side of the fence near Qalqilya.

Ras Tira Mayor Hisham Mara’adeh told Ynet that the driver reached the entrance of the town around 6:30 am, but was detained there until 12 pm explaining the situation to the soldiers.

The driver explained to the soldiers that he had no problem unloading the boulders from the truck.

However, because of their large size, he had no way of reloading them onto the vehicle and transporting them to their final destination.

This did not seem to deter the soldiers. They insisted that he unload the rocks, and the driver ultimately gave in. He then had to order a tractor with a crane, paid for at his expense, in order to reload the weighty goods back onto the truck. Only at 3 pm did the driver and his load enter the town.

“These scenes are almost daily. When we happen upon an officer who is not nice, the life of the village, mainly residents and drivers – especially those who have to deliver a load – turn into a nightmare,” said Mara’adeh.

The mayor said that all petitions to the Coordination and Liaison Authority and to human rights organizations have failed to change the situation. Mara’adeh, who filmed the event together with the women of MachsomWatch, also said that “the soldiers bully the residents.”

The women of MachsomWatch said that this incident occurred during a period when Israel is actually easing up on checkpoint activity in honor of the Ramadan holiday.

The IDF Spokesperson declined to comment.