By Amira Hass
"....In tens of thousands of homes in the West Bank live others, who may have not ended up in the hospital, but who every day accumulate harsh impressions of the nature and behavior of almost the only Israelis whom they encounter - the soldiers at the checkpoints. The non-Palestinians who pass through the checkpoints can also reach a similar conclusion - that most of the soldiers stationed at them are crude, arrogant, boastful and definitely hardhearted. All too often it appears that the soldiers intentionally cause the line of cars and people to dawdle at a checkpoint for a very long time. All too often they are seen laughing and grinning at the sight of the hundreds of people jostling and crowding in the slow line behind the narrow inspection turnstile.
The Palestinians are not interested in, and do not need to be interested in, the explanations that Israel will give: It's a difficult mission; the soldiers are afraid; maybe someone will come bearing an explosive belt; they're young, still children; they're defending the homeland; if they weren't posted at checkpoints in the middle of the West Bank, suicide terrorists would be free to enter Israel.
The truth is that even the soldiers' parents should not be interested in these explanations. They should, however, be very worried about their country sending their sons and daughters on an apartheid mission: to restrict Palestinian mobility within the occupied territory, to narrow the Palestinian expanse in order to enable Jews to move freely within that same occupied territory and in order to increase their expanse within it. In order to carry out this mission in full, facing the natives, the soldiers must feel and act like "superiors." "