Translation: Hanna K.
14:30: Sha'ar Shomron: Where is the police? Where is the Border Police?
14:40: Opposite Ariel the development work continues.
Marda - The two gates are open, the western and the eastern one. Zeita Jama'in - still closed.
Za'tara: There are reservists at the CP.
From the west there is absolutely no queue.
From the north: four cars.
There are not vehicles detained at the CP itself.
The soldier guarding the lamp at the center of the square, stands at his position. On the other hand the hitch-hiking stops are without personal guards.
15:00: Beit Furik:
The upper parking lot is empty - almost no cars and no pedestrians. The coffee vendor says - truly, this is a good CP... There are rumors that the CP will soon be dismantled...
There are no entering pedestrians, and in the outgoing persons queue there is a serious sparsity.
The CP commander, whose rank is that of a lieutenant, comes up to us: Shalom, are you watch? May I help you? Ok, be here but try not to disturb. We promised.
A car is checked by presenting papers only. The next one - the driver is asked to get out of the vehicle and to open the trunk. The next car, an agricultural commercial vehicle - the drivers ID is checked against the list of wanted persons, when there was no match - he is released.
15:20 - We note that vehicles are checked in two lanes - for entering vehicles and for outgoing one simultaneously!
There are seven detainees waiting for us in the in the solitary confinement cell.
According to one of them he is held there for five hours already, without water or food. He asked to drink water, in order to swallow psychiatric pills, but the soldiers were alarmed by him and confined him to the cell. According to T., from the DCO, not one of the prisoners was held there more than for the prescribed three hours.
Water is given to them following our explicit request. A few moments after our arrival the young man is released, together with two others. In their stead another young man is detained.
Thus the permitted inventory quota in the Huwwara detention cell is maintained - only five persons simultaneously.
The CP commander. Second Lieutenant E., who refused to talk to us when we turned to him, suddenly shouts: make yourselves scarce! Back, back!!
We complained about his behavior to the humanitarian center.
We: why? We didn't cross the line, so as no to create any provocation.
He: but she (pointing to Merav) is taking pictures! It is forbidden to take pictures!
It is allowed to take pictures...
He, in a rage: really? It is allowed to take pictures of soldiers? Since when??
An Israeli young man is detained because he entered Nablus, to work, without authorization.
Quickly two women join the others, a mother and a daughter, because they entered Nablus to visit relatives, they too without an authorization.
The police which is summoned to take care of them , is requested to take care of us too.
The policeman arrives, tries to say that it is forbidden for us to stay in an area which is defined by him as "closed military area", and that "it is forbidden for us to go and talk to the prisoners".
Merav explains that first of all the people we talk to are no prisoners - they are detainees, and that as a human rights organization it is our duty to go to the detainees to find out whether they received water, and why they are detained, etc.
The incident ends without results. The policeman releases the Israeli detainees, and from us he didn't even ask to see the IDs.
There is a visit of the Golani Battalion Commander (Lieutenant Colonel A.F.) accompanied by four adjutants - his company commanders... The CP commander complains to him about us, about our photographing.
The battalion commander F., says that he has no problem with our presence or with our picture taking....
We had a conversation with him and with the company commander of the company which mans Huwwara.
At the end of the conversation we got his telephone number, in order to solve problems directly with him, without having to turn to the Center as an intermediary (in the course of our conversation he got a phone call from the brigade concerning the behavior of E. the commander).
He says: "In the end, all of us want the same thing - that the CP be managed in the best and most humane manner possible.
We smiled. We have slightly different aspirations...
A woman comes up to us and tells this story: she is an inhabitant of Tira, her mother, aged 83, was run over by an Israeli arab citizen, in the village of Ramallah, a month ago. She hospitalized her in a private hospital and that was that. The mother is in a serious medical condition which deteriorates from day to day. Since her release she is hospitalized in the Rafidiya hospital in Nablus and her treatment is bad. She wants to transfer her to an Israeli hospital but this is too expensive, and as there is no file at the Israeli police - it is impossible to force the insurance company of the injuring driver to pay for the hospitalization. She begs for help.
The quick queue gets mixed under the shed, women and men together.
The passage is blocked by a plastic barrier and an iron grille on top of that.
The x-ray vehicle is still not working.
There is no dog trainer or dog.
The red barrier moved since last week and is now positioned without a flag flying over it, in order to delay the queue of cars leaving Nablus.
A car is checked - its passengers are waiting in the sun for eight long minutes until they are allowed to enter it again and go on their way.
17:20 - The Samaria CP:
There are five detainees. One of them who speaks Hebrew well, tells us that they were detained at seven in the morning by the Rosh Ha-Ayin police, where they were held until they were brought to the CP an hour ago. According to the CP commander (with the rank of sergeant) only half an hour passed since they arrived.
The CP commander wants to know "how is one accepted to do your kind of work?" We explained that this is no work, it is volunteer work, and that one has to be - that's how it is - a woman... he repeats his question, probably in order to make us feel bad regarding ourselves, so what, I cannot be accepted by you?
Ten minutes after our arrival everybody was released. They thank us in many languages: Arabic, Hebrew, English, French, Russian...
06:00 - 08:30
Reihan CP - 06:00
Forty workers went through to their jobs in the seamline zone; they report that the passage is quick and the machines are in order.
Four cars on the way to the seamline zone are being inspected and four pickup trucks with goods are being inspected in the closed area.
The rate of passage - 230 people in an hour. All of them are happy. In the terminal only one window is active now.
06:20 - The few people who arrive enter immediatly. The passage now takes about 20 minutes, but those continuing in the taxi that brought them have to wait for a long time.
The inspection in the vehicle CP takes about 25 - 50 minutes today.
06:45 - Most of those going through have already left for their places of work. Six pickup trucks with goods are waiting for inspection.
Shaked CP -- 07:10
The CP opened at 07:00. Many people are going through at this time. A herd of sheep, some cars and ten people are waiting near the turnstile; the inspection in the pavilion is quick. The waiting and the inspection take eight minutes. One of the workers tells us that he goes through to work in agriculture with his son (24 years old) every day. On Wednesday, his son was detained, but after some clarification, we was let through. On Thursday, when there were different soldiers manning the CP, they detained him again and this time they took away his permits. It is not clear why. He claims that his son is not the only one whose permits were taken from him. We tried to find out about this matter in the DCO, but could not.
Taxis with passengers are arriving from the seamline zone on the way to the West Bank. The passengers get out and are inspected in the pavilion -- ten minutes.
Reihan CP - 07:45
In the lower parking lot, there are seven pickup trucks with produce. Vehicle traffic is very thin in both directions. The bus from Barta'a does not arrive at all. Cars with passengers on their way to the West Bank are inspected by dogs. A. tells us about a driver from Ya'aved who was asked, at the Dothan CP, how many passengers he had, and he gave the wrong answer (perhaps because he did not understand Hebrew); he was punished. They took away his permit.
06:50 Irtah. Lots of activity at the checkpoint, most workers have already gone through and some of them are clustered in the parking area, waiting for the employers. No line of workers from Tulkarm, traffic is flowing.
07:05 Jubarra checkpoint – A few soldiers at the checkpoint and very sparse automobile traffic. A few residents of Israel pass through toward Taibeh, the soldiers open the gate without delay.
07:10 Ar-Ras checkpoint – Sparse traffic. No detainees; the buses carrying children haven't yet arrived (are schools on vacation?)
07:25 'Anabta – At Anabta checkpoint there were no detainees from the direction of Nablus. There are fewpedestrians, but mostly no students come from Tulkarm. People go through the checkpoint on foot and get a taxi or a bus on the other side. A very long line of cars are waiting from the direction of Tulkarm.
07:40-8:30 Beit Iba – The place is buzzing with people going through in both directions. Long lines of students from the direction of Tulkarm. Complaints (we won't get to class on time). Careful checks (comparison with a list held by the soldiers). Not enough soldiers, many people passing through and the lines are long. We timed a fifteen minute wait in a crowded line to pass through to Nablus.
A number of detainees on the Nablus side. (according to the commander they tried to bypass the checkpoint in the morning and that's why they were detained). Occasionally, after being checked, a detainee is released and sent on his way.
The soldiers behaved nicely to us, and answered all our questions.
08:30 We left.
08:30.A resident of Deir Sharaf who wants to take his car to Nablus for repairs – he says there aren't any garages in Deir Sharaf – but he doesn't have permission to bring the car in, and is refused entry, despite the fact that he has a permit to enter Israel and is willing to leave it at the checkpoint as a guarantee. In any case, he could go around through ‘Anabta in about an hour and enter Nablus through Asira. So why refuse?
A donkey cart carrying many heavy sacks, led by an elderly man has to unload about 20 sacks so the dog can check everything. Meanwhile a soldier comes over to the donkey, stands facing it and waves his fingers next to the donkey's eyes. The donkey, of course, is startled and jumps back; the soldier apparently enjoys this.
09:00 Now they're also starting to check the women. Of course, a line of pedestrians immediately forms at the entrance.
09:20 A car with Women in Blue and White arrives and naturally drives right into the army base and parks near the steps. They move into the lines, into the defensive barriers where the soldiers are stationed and distribute little flags, drinks and cakes, and – of course – chat."That doesn't interfere with the operation of the checkpoint!"Their arrival is announced over the PA system – calling all the soldiers to come get their presents.All the soldiers are busy with the guests, chatting, and no one goes through the checkpoint. By now the line numbers about 60 people – let them wait. The soldier, of course, has to flirt with the woman and the cakes. After a while they began letting people through again – holding a cup with a drink in one hand and a cookie in the other, and that's how they check documents.
They left, and now we also gave the checkpoint commander material about MachsomWatch – "Four facts you didn't know about the checkpoint – Who we are."
A number of people from specific villages have been detained and are brought one at a time to be interrogated by the General Security Services ("Shabak"). They're released pretty quickly.When the DCO officer comments to one of the soldiers that there's a long line, and that they might speed things up, the reply was, "The line can reach all the way to Jerusalem for all I care."
Translator: Charles K.
7:25 Za'tara/Tapuah junction:
The soldiers stopped five passengers in a small car to be checked. It turns out they're from Marda, and driving to work in Ramallah. One of them forgot his ID card. We asked the soldiers what's happening. They answer politely. The soldier even apologizes and explains that that's the procedure: moving around without an ID card is forbidden, and everyone knows this. They all sit quietly in the car, waiting. One of them, who looks dignified, and holding prayer beads in his hand, explains to us in English what happened. He's quietly angry, and says: How will there ever be peace so long as this continues? This is what leads people to do things... It turns out that the cousin of the man lacking the ID will bring it from the village.
When he arrived, at 7:55, the car continues on its way.
Only a few cars are waiting at the checkpoing.
Few pedestrians. We didn't see the checkpoint commander or the DCO representative. One of the soldiers tells us to move back to the blue line. I obey. When our guest tries to take a photograph, the soldiers begin shouting and threatening: if you photograph, we'll close the checkpoint. We explain that we're not photographing soldiers.
Two lanes open, and a humanitarian lane.
8:55 Beit Furik:
As usual, few people going through. A taxi driver stands on the side next to his vehicle. He's been detained. He was caught driving on Medison Rd. which is for Israeis only. He tells us that he's from Jericho, and got on this road without having been aware that Palestinians are forbidden to drive on it, and was caught. He was sorry, and apologized, but to no avail. The soldiers told him that he was being detained as punishment. He said he's already been detained for an hour or two. He calls our attention to the fact that there's no sign at the beginning of the road that forbids Palestinians to drive on it. (He's right. We checked later.) And anyway: He has a heart condition and has to take his medicine.
We contact the humanitarian center. They ask us for his ID number. After a few minutes we call again.
The answer: If he's already been detained for two hours, he has to wait another hour. In a case like his, driving on a road "for Jews only" is three hours detention. We quote her: "It's a sterile area."
There's nothing to say. The IDF is the champion of newspeak. There's nothing more that can be done to help the man. He accepts the judgment with resignation.
10:00 Back at Huwwara.
Everything is quiet. A youth who forgot two rings at the checking booth asks for our help. We talk to the soldiers and they immediately hand over the two rings.
On the way to the checkpoint I chat with one of the kiosks’ owners. I tell him about the traffic jam at 'Anabta and about the mysterious army car there. He tells me that cab drivers have been reporting that the Israeli Secret Services have been at 'Anabta checkpoint since morning; they’re recruiting collaborators, he says. I ask him about the driver of the car, the one with Arab appearance. “Druz,” the kiosk owner determines; “or a Jew; that’s how the Secret Services always work when they recruit here; a Druz or a Jew – one who speaks Arabic better than myself,” he smiles, “runs the ‘interviews,’” he explains.
The kiosk owner continues to tell me that tomorrow is a holiday, and so all the students are returning home; all afternoon there’s been a high volume of pedestrians leaving Nablus at this checkpoint.
Indeed, when we arrive at the checkpoint a young man tells us that he waited for two hours in line. In the detainees’ enclosure there are 7 detainees; all tried to play hide and seek with the soldiers in the fields by the roadblock. The checkpoint commander this afternoon is very serious and disciplined – no games with him; you tried to bypass the checkpoint and now you’re punished: two hours detention and then back to the end of the queue. But by now the queue is shorter. Five of the seven detainees are released at 16:25 and returned to the end of the line; at 16:25 they cross the checkpoint on their way to Tulkarem.
Meanwhile Yael chats with the DCO representative; they discuss the dearth of traffic at the vehicle checkpoint of Beit Iba. It turns out that only 125 cars of all cars registered in Nablus (thousands we guess) have permits to pass through the Beit Iba checkpoint. No problems then, at the vehicle crossing of Beit Iba roadblock, because there are almost no vehicles to cross…
We leave the checkpoint.
08: 25. Jit junction open
Translator: Charles K.
13:25 Shomron Gate - Increased police presence. No detainees.
13:45 - Ariel - Construction continues.
Marda - Both gates open.
Zeita Jama'in - Closed. The punishment continues.
13:50 Za'tara. One truck waiting from the west. From the north: 15 cars waiting in two lines to go through..
A soldier at the traffic circle, one at the hitchhiking location.
A long line of cars to enter Nablus. We counted ten cars.
Two detainees in isolation. One 20 years old, detained because he went through with a weapons belt, until they found out that he's a Palestinian policeman, and then he was released. The second, a "bingo," the GSS's daily lucky number; his wife and two children have been waiting for him during the entire time he's been held. When we arrived they complained that they've been waiting two hours. T., the DCO representative, told us that they were released in an hour and a half, at most.
The checkpoint is very crowded
The center vehicle lane exiting Nablus is blocked by a red plastic barrier. Someone hung an Israeli flag on it. "Flags, flags throughout the land..."
The x-ray vehicle is on site, but - "How sad it is to see an x-ray truck closed down" - the x-ray machine inside broke down two days ago, according to the DCO representative, which requires a much more careful inspection than usual, by hand, of bags and packages. That, in addition to a new crew of soldiers at the checkpoint, makes passing through much slower.
O., the 2nd lieutenant, goes over to the line of vehicles entering Nablus and succeeds in making it disappear in a relatively short time. Two women and five young men stand next to the vehicle barrier, arguing with O. After a few minutes they leave. We weren't able to discover what it was about.
From there, he runs over to the express lane and gets it flowing.
14:20 An argument among Palestinians next to the entry turnstile to Nablus. Someone is claiming that his cell phone was stolen and people begin hitting and pushing and crowding around. The soldiers respond by pointing their weapons and cocking them - as expected, the argument stresses them out.
14:30 Some yells at a guy at the turnstile, "Remove your shoes! Remove your shoes already! What's the matter, are you dumb? Remove your shoes already!"
The express lane sometimes moves quickly and sometimes annoyingly slowly. The route is blocked by a plastic barrier that only allows people to go through on a diagonal between the wall and where we're standing, women with children/babies/baskets/many bags have trouble getting through the narrow passage open to them. After a while, the line shifts and moves under the shed.
An elderly man passes by us, saying [in English], "Problem, much problem."
T. comes over every few minutes to help move the lines along - the express line as well as that of the vehicles entering Nablus.
14:40 Four soldiers arrive, one of them a 2nd lieutenant who speaks rudely to his subordinates: I don't care, get out of here, I mean now.
Passengers in vehicles being checked are asked to lift up their shirts.
14:55 Beit Furik.
The upper parking lot is empty. As far as we can see, about ten cars are on line coming from Nablus. Nine people are waiting at the turnstile to enter Nablus.
The First Sergeant, who introduces himself as the checkpoint commander, greets us in a very hostile manner - Could you please move over there behind the line?
No, we replied, we have a right to stand here.
He: I didn't ask you, I told you! Yalla, scat, go home! You're annoying me, I don't like looking at you..
Riva: There are many people I don't like seeing, but that doesn't mean they don't have the right to be where they are.
A second soldier joins the discussion, and tries to convince us: He's the checkpoint commander, and that's what he decided; you're interfering with our work.
We rebel: You're the ones interfering with yourselves! We're standing here quietly, and had no intention of talking to you, but you're the ones who choose to talk to us and pay attention to us.
After the attempt to convince us fails, the checkpoint goes back to operat normally.
An attempt to take photographs gets a response from one of the female MP's: "What's this - If I'm not mistaken, you're not allowed to photograph military operations ...
Nur says: We're allowed to photograph contact with civilians. I'm a law abiding citizen.
The checkpoint commander: You're a citizen? - You? You're garbage! Exchange your ID card for a green one, and live in Palestine! Some citizen!
Riva: Palestine is right here.
The commander: So go live in Nablus!
We note that during this entire time, the checkpoint operated with no delays.
The isolation cell is empty when we return. The two detainees who greeted us at the start of our shift were, to our joy, released while we were in Beit Furik.
A religious man, accompanied by a girl about ten years old, argues with the checkpoint commander, and T. translates. After a few minutes he seems to give up, decides to leave his ID card and turns to go. He returns, as expected, receives it and drives away. It turns out that he got tired of the long wait, and tried to bypass the checkpoint through the parking lot. His daughter is sick and he has to get her home. Luckily, T. manages to convince A., the commander, to forget it and let him go on his way.
16:55 Za'tara - Five cars waiting from the north. The west side is empty.
Translator: Charles K.
Five detainees at Shomron Gate. Many police.
Za'tara: 10 vehicles on line in each direction - north and west.
A detainee in isolation. He says he's already been there three hours. He was released from prison a week ago, and is now clean. According to the soldiers, he badly beat one of the Palestinians waiting on line, more than the usual fight.
The checkpoint is crowded. More officers and soldiers than usual. An additional line for women was opened off to one side.
The X-ray machine isn't operating. Examining the hand luggage greatly delays the lengthening line.
16:15 The dog handler arrives.
16:30 A jeep brings a handcuffed youth who's put in isolation.
Three soldiers, in turn, introduce themselves as the checkpoint commander and demand that we don't go even one centimeter past the blue line. "When I'm here everyone stays behind the line - Now!," says one of them, and the second thinks that a woman old enough to be his grandmother should understand that she belongs behind the line. The third hurries to threaten that he'll call the police.
A family is waiting three hours for a cousin.
The first detainee is released.
People continue passing through the line, with variations in the search ceremony. Remove the belt, shake the shoes that have been removed. One of the soldiers is particularly good at arranging the people in straight lines by continuously bellowing at and scolding them.
The soldiers stop a man from Belgium who was photographing at the checkpoint, and erase all the photos. And look through his belongings.
A 20-year-old from Awarta is stopped by a patrol and brought to the isolation pen in handcuffs. There's a bottle of water in the pen, but he isn't able to drink.
A young woman in a wheelchair, accompanied by a member of her family, requests to enter Nablus not via the turnstile, which of course necessitates an investigation and a careful examination of the ID card.
A really suspicious request.
17:30 Long lines. People are frustrated and bitter when they emerge. The detainee is still in isolation, handcuffed.
We drove to Beit Furik.
En route to Beit Furik we pass dozens of settler youths; god knows why they showed up. They crowd around the entrance to the regional council and on the way back we see them marching toward Yitamar.
The Awarta road is blocked until they pass, and military vehicles accompany them the whole way.
4 cars waiting to enter Nablus.
About 15 cars reported to be waiting to enter Beit Furik, waiting about half an hour.
Many pedestrians, as usual. They pass through in a few minutes.
18:20 Back at Huwwara.
The detainee has been released.
Only one lane is operating, in addition to the one off to the side. The line stretches to the end of the shed. The magnemometer beeps, and the soldier "is certain that each person carries a knife and intends to stab us," threatens and yells at everyone, teaching and punishing them.
The checks, that in any event are slow, are stopped repeatedly whenever the soldier decides to make the line organized: "First you in the orange, then the red, then you."
Again and again he organizes the line, not resting for a minute, except that the line keeps getting longer.
19:00 We left. The warrior remains a warrior, the dog handler continues "dogging" the cars, and the lines reach all the way to the end of the shed. At least it isn't hot today.
On the signs at Za'tara: "We're continuing to settle and to build."
Translatin: Ruth F.
6:42- BP soldiers were at Sha'ar Ha'shomron checkpoint
6:46-Marda- the road was open. Zeita- as usual the passage was blocked by cement bricks.
6:46 Za'tara/Tapouah -
The checkpoint from Ariel was empty. A bus was waiting at the parking lot, the passangers said they had been there for half an hour. We asked the commander who said that there was a reason why they are being detained and that he was waiting for the DCO's authorization. In the line from Huwwara there were about 8-10 vehicles, the soldier that manned the checkpoint were reserves from the air force. After a few minutes a soldier came to the bus and all the passengers went on to the "handing of the IDs ceremony". The bus was on it's way.
The parking lot was almost completely full. About 50 people were waiting in line from Nablus, waiting for their inspection. Two cars were at the checkpoint. Golani soldiers manned the checkpoint, they had arrived there for the first time on the previous day.
Five soldiers were at the checkpoint inspecting trucks. Those who stayed at the parking lot the whole time said that the soldiers had taken their IDs. We talked to the commander who said these were the orders he got. We asked that he check again and since it was extremely in out of the ordinary and we told him we would stop by again on our way back.
There were no trucks in the parking lot.
7:40 Beit Furik-
18 vehicles were waiting in line. The drivers said they had been waiting for an hour. The commander claimed he didn't have enough soldiers- there was only one open vehicle lane. There were few pedestrians entering the city.
The IDs were given back to their owners. 3-4 trucks were at the checkpoint and two were transferring merchandise at the parking lot in the "back to back" system.
Three cab drivers had been detained for half an hour. T. (DCO officer) said they had caused a traffic jam at the parking lot and since the army is in charge of that area as well they decided that instead of calling the police which would give them a ticket for 300 Shekels, they decided to detain them for three hours and on Thursday, which is a busy day, so that they learn their lesion. The drivers had no idea what it was all about, they said there was no free space at the parking lot.
We must make inquiries as to the army's tendency to police the parking lot. If the army is in charge of that area then it must arrange better conditions for those passing. As for now they are detaining people who might be disturbing the rest, but are only doing so because of the regulations that the army itself had ordered.
9:05- From Huwwara to Za'tara/Tapouah- there were 14 vehicles in line
9:11- Marda and Zita- As it was before.