Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 6.11.08, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
14:02 Marda: Both gates are open. Zeita: Closed and locked as usual; the same on the way back.
14:06 Za'tara checkpoint. One car waiting from the west, 10 waiting from the north, at two booths.
14:11 A Border Patrol jeep in the parking area next to the entrance to Zeita.
14:14 Burin checkpoints are not manned.
Two residential structures that we didn't see before on the hill before the settlement of Beracha.
14:21 Huwwara checkpoint - the detention pen is empty.
Three inspection booths for young men, magnemometers beeping, people going through remove belts and belongings and after the inspection, as usual, rearrange their clothing and belongings; a line on the side for women and elderly men. Simi, the representative of the church escorts, updates us together with her partner on the shift who's on the other side of the checkpoint:
About 250 Palestinians waiting in the shed to be checked, lots of foot traffic in both directions.
Three taxis and one bus in line to be inspected leaving Nablus.
There's sometimes a line of vehicles to be checked entering Nablus, but it disappears after a few minutes.
There's an x-ray vehicle to inspect belongings - D., the female MP who's well known for her yelling, has been transferred after a complaint was filed against her. In her new job she sits (quietly?) in the white x-ray vehicle-
The DCO representative is on site.
14:40 Just like last week, a fire breaks out to the west of the Huwwara checkpoint and burns fields and groves belonging to villagers from Burin alongside the private road of the Beracha settlers. Photos attached.
T., the DCO representative, calls for two fire engines from Nablus, and when they arrive the drivers have to wait at the checkpoint for military vehicles to escort them, because the road belongs (?!) only to the settlers. Buma Inbar is also there. He also called for escort vehicles.. By the time the escort arrived the flames had managed to burn fields and groves that hadn't been reached by last week's fire.. The vehicle belonging to the settlement's rabbi is located near the area of the fire, as well as an armored tractor that belongs to the settlement.
The head of the Burin village council arrives and stands there helplessly by himself -
This time as well (like last week) they won't find whoever set the flames: had he been Palestinian he would have been found immediately.
15:20 A detainee in the pen - inappropriate behavior. Released half an hour later.
16:50 Beit Furik checkpoint -
About 150 people on foot leaving Nablus for Beit Furik, waiting in the shed to be inspected.
37 vehicles were counted leaving Nablus toward Beit Furik. Few vehicles waiting to go from Beit Furik to Nablus. Drivers from Beit Furik say they waited an hour. There are reports of particularly long waits at the checkpoint in the past two weeks. Dorit calls DCO Huwwara, 02-970 3159 (because Z. isn't in the area), reports on the crowding. They said they'd try to send reinforcements, but none had arrived by the time we left and it was as jammed as before.
One detainee in the pen. We weren't allowed to go over to him. We reported it to the humanitarian center. They didn't know about him. Said they'd check.
We found out his name, in a roundabout way ("Every person has a name..."). We knew he'd been detained for three hours and he's asking for water. Now we could report more details about him to the humanitarian center.
We tried (raising our voices) to tell the checkpoint commander that the detainee is asking for water. He paid no attention.
Dorit took the initiative - went into the area of the checkpoint next to the soldiers' position with a bottle of water in her hand.
Dorit: Excuse me, could you give this water to the detainee?
Soldier: Will you get out of here? Now! I don't want to see you!
Dorit: I'm going, I'm gone - just take the bottle and please give him something to drink.
Soldier: Do you know that he cursed me?
Dorit: I'm sorry about that, but could you give him this water?
Soldier: He was rude to me, and cursed me - he doesn't deserve water, I haven't had anything to drink either.
Dorit: So you take a drink first and then please give it to him. He's thirsty.
Soldier: He's been there 3 hours and will be there longer - Why? He cursed me, I'm not bringing him water, and you get out of here.
Dorit: I'm going, I'll just give him some water.
Soldier: He's not drinking, I'm not giving, if it were 86 degrees I'd give him water but it's not hot, I'm not giving, then he'll want to go piss. Get out of here.
I went...he didn't get water.
When we called the humanitarian center they said they had information about the man (yes, since we provided the information...), that he's been detained for two hours (the checkpoint commander said three hours...) and about him being thirsty - they can only tell the DCO representative to tell the soldiers to give him water; that's what they can do.
The man detained "for security reasons," without being able to drink, was released at 18:30 and told to go to the GSS representative in the next couple of days.
17:42 Za'tara checkpoint - One car from the north to be checked. Two booths.
From the west - two vehicles waiting to be checked. One booth.