Translation: Ruth F.
Even when it all seems to be fine and the checkpoints function relatively calmly, it's an impossible situation and the people passing are extremely angry.
For the last couple of weeks there has been a checkpoint at the entrance to the occupied territories on
route number 5.
The entrance to Zeita was blocked with huge cement blocks.
Za'tara/Tapuach Junction -
From the direction of route 5, three cars were waiting for an inspection. From the direction of Nablus there were 20 cars and the traffic was flowing.
Up to Huwwara checkpoint there were no blockages.
7:55 Huwwara checkpoint
There was much traffic in the parking lot, we heard lots of honking and people shouting out the their destinations, the bagel stand was open without any interruptions and the coffee salesman was there as well.
When we went up the stairs, a young man came in our direction and told us that three people were sitting in the detainee cell since 5 AM, their IDs were taken under pretext that they were forged. We went to see them and they seemed rather amused, they told us that since 5 or 6 AM they had been in the detention cell, and asked that we find out what was going on.
Obviously the soldiers responded politely and took no notice of the white line and neither did we, obviously.
About 100 people were waiting to exit Nablus, the inspection appeared to be the regular ones, but most of the men seemed very angry, they all got out with their belt in their hand, stopping to dress themselves, arrange their packages and calm down from the experience, when we asked them how long they waited , most of the answers were of between half an hour and up to two hours.
During the whole shift the humanitarian line was open to women and the elders. A very old man arrived, he was heading to Nablus. He didn't go to the turnstile but to the soldier that stood next to us. The soldier stopped a car and told the old man to get inside, we learned that this soldier was A. the checkpoint commander.
The soldiers were Yeshiva students that live in the occupied territories and so was the commander, their behavior was very well tempered.
The soldiers (from the MP) at the inspection both were very rude and most of the contact between the residents is done through them. They yell at those waiting, shout at them to arrange the line, yell at each other from one both to the other, it was so strident that we asked the commander to tell them to calm down. After a few minutes he came back and told us that he spoke to their commander and after that the humiliating "routine" was preformed quietly.
At the entrance to Nablus was the usual stream of pedestrians and only a few cars, since the car inspection post was manned the whole time there was no line. Apart for the cars that had a foreign number, all the drivers that had a permit were allowed to pass.
At the entrance to Nablus on the road, was a ten year old boy helping his blind father to pass, there was also a woman pushing an invalid in his chair.
8:15- We recognized the DCO representative (T'), who explained to us that two of the detainees had forged IDs, they had even admitted it to be true. They were now waiting for the police to take their testimony and probably send them back to Nablus. The third detainee was, as they call it, a "bingo"- they gave his ID number to the GSS to examine it and they were waiting for an answer.
After five minutes the blue police arrived, they filled a form, the other detainees were rebuked and sent back to Nablus, only one of them was left.
The waiting time for cars at the exit from Nablus was of half an hour: They checked the engine, the trunk and the packages in the car were taken to the x-ray machine.
8:30- There were still about 100 people waiting to pass, even though the inspections were relatively quick.
8:40- T' from the DCO asked that we tell him how the checkpoint had changed through out the time we had been coming there, he was preparing a lecture for his unit and we have a "History Memory" of about 4 years.
9:30- Things hardly changed the whole time, there was still much pressure at the exit. The third detainee got his ID back and was released.
We left for Beit Furik.
9:40- Beit Furik checkpoint
For a change no one used the white line against us. The commander was most cooperative and came to speak with us. When we asked why there was only one inspection post for cars and why the drivers had to wait for a half an hour (as they reported), the commander opened another post and all the cars disappeared immediately from the checkpoints on both directions.
There were only a few pedestrians, which is normal for this hour.
10:00 - Awarta
One car was waiting to enter Nablus. A. came to us and told us that the soldiers were alright on this day, and that everything was fine.
It was very strange but on the way back, Za'tara/ Tapouah junction was empty on both ways in the middle of the day.
13.20 - Opposite the entrance to Ariel we see that a gravel area has been laid out and there are 3 soldiers and an army vehicle. We will follow the developments.
The entrance to Marda is open but Zeita is still blocked and people and cars crowd on both sides.
Za'tra (Tapuach) .
15 cars and one which is detained is freed after 3 minutes. Three checking lines.
A bus on its way to Ramallah is detained and the IDs of all are taken. The driver says that they had been delayed for three hours at Burin. The commander says that there was a suspicious object and therefore the road had been blocked. 2 minutes later IDs are returned and the commander wishes them a pleasant trip.
He was very hostile to us and would not answer our question about any alerts.
From the east we saw over 50 cars. Cars with yellow plates ride through the middle of the road. Also to the east was a traffic jam which opened up after a few minutes.
13,55 At the entrance of the village of Beita we saw a demonstration which included the Palestinian flag and sheets on which were written in bold lettering. They were waiting for those who had been freed from the Israeli prisons.
Burin/Yitzhar - was unmanned.
At Awarta -
We saw trucks only leaving Nablus. A., the olive seller, says that there had just been back to back trucks. He said that the commander is pleasant and does not detain people.
14.15 Beit Furik.
Two trucks and one van waiting to enter. When we got there two soldiers were running towards the parking lot as something had been seen. Accompanied by a soldier we went to the white line. Few people there and no one has complaints about the soldiers. The IDs of entering cars are checked and doors and the baggage compartment opened. The incident ended with nothing particular happening.
On our way out we saw a truck with yellow plates and an army vehicle stopping it on the side of the road. Everything was carefully checked. Two soldiers sign to us to stop at the side of the road. They saw us leaving Beit Furik. We asked why the driver had been stopped and they said he had done something forbidden. Another said politely "He is suspicious." The driver who looked like an Arab was sent on his way a few minutes later.
14.50 Huwwara -
There are a great number of people at the fence on the Nablus side. When they come closer they are sent back and the commander says that it only needs one stone to be thrown or one song of "Kill the Jew" and everyone will be in danger.
The soldiers have been reinforced because the freed prisoners are returning.
A young man comes to us and asks us to help a boy of 10 who is alone and very frightened. He had tried to slip through. We went to speak to the commander but the boy was already freed and on his way home.
In the ordinary line some say they have waited three hours and others say less than an hour.
A man comes who says that his friend from Marda forgot her ID and now she cannot leave the village. The commander said he had received no ID yesterday but checked with the DCO and the ID was there. He was polite to the man and gave him details...the phone number and name of the person he should speak to.
15.20 One of the soldiers starts to sing and it seems that the soldiers are having a game. They throw out a word and she finds a song which begins with this word.
At the same time she keeps passing the people through.
16.00 Lieutenant colonel Doron and the commander of the military police unit arrives together with two captains of the rank of sergeant and comes up to us and shakes hands warmly with us.
He says that when we do not make a drama when the checkpoint is handled well and we answer that it was truly handled well and it is up to the commander, but still horrible.
16.40 At the entrance to Zeita was a bonfire to keep people warm.
Translation: Rachel B.S
7.30 - the entrance to Zeita is blocked with concrete cubes. A hummer is standing next to them.
7.45 - Za'tara CP - 7 cars from the east and 17 from Nablus.
8.00 - Beit Furik - no cars, and very few pedestrians.
8.20 - Huwwara CP - about 20 people are waiting in line under the shed.
The DCO says there was a lot of traffic earlier in the morning. It is raining. 3 inspection posts are working.
9.00 - just a few people are waiting in line.
9.15 - a man with his arm in a cast is detained in the isolation cell.
9.20 - a woman with a heart attack is on her way to Nablus in a cab, the DCO allows the cab through although it doesn't have a passage permit.
9.35 - another detainee is brought into the isolation cell. It is cold. The sun comes out some times between the rain shouwers.
9.55 - we asked the DCO what is going to happen with the detainees. He says one of them will be released and the other one held.
10.00 - one of the detainees is released. when he comes out we ask him about the circumstances of his being detained. He says that he has been in prison for two years. He got out two months ago, and ever since he has been detained at the CP every day.
10.10 - another detainee is entered into the cell. We see the DCO bringing a board to the detainees cell, so that they have where to stand in the flooded cell, he says. I ask the CP commander why wouldn't he let the man with his arm in cast wait under the shed near by instead of the flooded cell. His answer: "what would I say to the mother of a soldier who may be hurt by this man?". I say: "what danger could there be to anybody from a guy with his arm in cast, how could you imagine anything like that?" he: "you're right, you convinced me". And he takes the guy outside the cell. Still waiting to see if he is released or not.
10.30 - a boy who appears to be about 13 years old is sent back ("Ruch l'il Beitack" - go back home), no sooner than his body and luggage get inspected. It turns out that he is being sent back because he has no ID or guardian parent.
11.15 - Za'atra CP - two cars from each direction. One of the concrete cubes blocking the road leading to Zeita has been removed.
11.35 - as we have pre-arranged with the DCO and the lady at the humanitarian Center, she informed us that the man with the cast was finally released (after detention of two hours and a quarter!)
Translation: Tal H.
Checkpoint commander quoting the regional brigade commander Amir Bar'am -
"Palestinians should be detained for six hours".
15:30 - Huwwara Checkpoint in clockwork condition, all roles competently filled.
The Palestinians stand in perfect single file behind the turnstiles, the soldiers in their checking posts. We thought about the rain that was pouring there a while before we arrived, how people - unsheltered - must have been drenched on their way to reach the taxis, where the women and children could have stood, being forever banned from the only sheds in sight, how they could have protected their babies, what did the venders do with all their chocolate, biscuits and hot beverages, is this rainfall a blessing for them too?
The water streamed generously into the detention cubicle as well and the four detainees, three of them held there as punishment since 12:30 crowd upon a plank placed above the puddle that formed on the floor like a life raft.
The first detainee, a thin boy, has been waiting for the GSS interrogators since 9:30 a.m.
The checkpoint commander calls his HQ every 15 minutes and asks that they come to pick him up, but the GSS has its own schedules. And it can also change its mind, even after six hours. At 16:35 we complained to the army hotline about the boy waiting since morning in the cold and rain, and said six hours. 20 minutes later the DCO representative on the spot (T.) reports to us that here, the boy is about to be handed over to the Palestinian police. Another 20 minutes go by and a Palestinian police car arrives, coordinates things with the DCO and takes the boy into Nablus.
The three other detainees are the drivers of two trucks caught at 12:30 while driving from the intersection towards Awarta on the road forbidden to Palestinians. They said that while turning at the intersection, there was an army vehicle standing but the soldiers did not warn them not to turn there, and having turned, were hunted down. Their IDs and car keys were confiscated and they were led into the concrete cubicle.
By order of the brigade commander they are being detained for 6 hours, but the CP commander says that it's been 4 hours already and he'll let them go soon, for they're freezing and wet.
At 16:03, as they are being released, one of the soldiers says: "Well, will you still drive on this road next time?... You see? Now you've learned!" And they admit that they didn't know, they'll never ever drive a Jews-only road again, but really, why isn't there a sign saying it's forbidden?
And why didn't the soldiers in the jeep say anything?
A woman pulling her two little children along defiantly says to us in English, "There's no need for you to stand here!" The women are let through quickly, and then face a long and exasperating wait, even though they stand silently and when chased away from the "sterile" area, they obey fast and un-protesting. The men after being checked at the turnstiles try to fix their appearance. They have to hold their coat and trouser belt, their trouser button open, shopping bags in hand, books and notebooks, cigarette pack, keys, coins, change - all in their hands and thus trying to re-belt their trousers, tuck their shirts in, button up, get their belongings back into their pockets, all the while being chased hurriedly by the soldier away from the shed - "Come on, git..." - calmly, without shouting.
The CP functions flawlessly. N., the Military Police company commander asks if we have any complaints or comments. We commented on the fact that the girl soldier at the vehicle checking post is forced to yell the ID numbers to the girl-soldier inside the computerized checking post and the latter yells her answers back. He said, yes, that is really not in order.
Beit Furik Checkpoint:
A soldier at the observation tower yells at us: "Save your ink. One day the Arabs will all be gone, this is our land only and we'll kick them out of here..." Probably us well.
We stood by the entrance turnstile. The checkpoint was empty, dark, cold and wet. Few people passed quickly and were swallowed into the few taxis that were still left at the taxi park bound for Beit Furik. Cars were passed after a short checking. These soldiers too seem to have learned their "job" and everything works like clockwork.
The zealous observer reported a Palestinian truck exiting Beit Furik and driving on the apartheid road towards Huwwara. At the entrance to Itamar colony, an army Humvee stood, lighting the road with a blinding projector, like a hunter waiting its prey.
We had a short shift for personal reasons.
13.35 Marad...the gate was open and at Zeita the entrance was barricaded with cement blocks.
At Za'tara were 40 cars from the north and two posts, 3 from the west with one post.
Yitzhar was empty.
13.56 Checkpoint of Huwwara.
No detainees and many people. Here a Thursday is like our Friday. Many families and the women waited for the men who were being checked. They have to wait far away in the direction of the car park.
But today it is done without the usual rudeness. 3 checking posts for men. A DCO representative helps to find the father of a baby of a few days whose mother is holding him so as to free him as soon as possible and allow them to go home. There is an x-ray machine.
Car leaving Nablus are carefully checked. 4 soldiers are checking. The car lane passes fairly quickly.
15.00 Beit Furik.
From afar we see a detainee but we canot talk to him. The commander said that the man was caught when he went in a forbidden direction. He will be punished by being detained for a few hours. Those are the orders from on high and we could not find out anything from the man. Pedestrians did not have to wait.
At 15.21 a line of cars began to build up because of the problem of checking a truck which arrived from Beit Furik. 10 minutes later when the problem was solved cars began to go through in two lanes which is not usual here. Only one soldier checks the pedestrians and the cars are checked in each lane by a soldier with security guards standing on top and in the sentry area between the two lanes. So the pressure was lifted.
15.46 At Yitzhar is a hummer next to road 60 but the checkpoint is not manned and there is no checking.
At Za'tara are 35 cars in both directions.
Zeita is stil closed and at Marda the gate is open.
16.06 Pre ssure on the road in the direction of Za'tara because of an accident.
Translation: Ruth F.
6:28 Marda was open.
6:28 Zeita was blocked with cement bricks.
There were 7 vehicles from Ariel to Ramala.
From the direction of Huwwara to Ramala were three lines of vehicles that stood one after another almost touching each other, we couldn't make out how many cars were there because our view ended before the end of the lines.
According to the drivers they waited the four 3 hours. The soldiers seemed very pleased with the situation. They were part of new regiment and it was their first time in the checkpoints so they were trying to do everything by the book (this expression from now on has a new meaning). There were no notifications on possible attacks, no segregations and no age restrictions. From time to time a new lane was opened.
The problem with the additional lanes was that every time a soldier so much as sneezed, the lane was closed due to "lack of man power", therefore, even if the soldiers had good intentions and wanted to let the cars pass, the "book" said "no!". When we arrived at the checkpoint we saw at the parking lot a car that was suspected to be stolen. They sent a request to the police that they check this suspicion. The driver, a young teacher, started worrying that he might not make it to school on time.
At one point the checkpoint commander decided to call her commander, who arrived there at 7:15, and 10 minutes afterwards the traffic was flowing. It appeared that the "book" was put back into the drawer for about 10 minutes, and the mess had disappeared. We left but the young teacher was still sitting in his car. We promised him that we would look for him on our way back. He wasn't the only one in the parking lot. There were other poor people that had the "book" tossed on them. There is no doubt that this was the great day of the Israeli bureaucrat who worked hard in order of inventing new rules and regulations for the checkpoint. When we left the parking lot we saw a car of a settler heading inside. He probably wanted to explain to the soldiers what was expected of them.
7:30- Yitzhar and Burin were open.
The streets in Huwwara village were filled with children carrying bags. There were no problems at the checkpoint at Huwwara. The place was quiet.
8:00 Beit Furik-
The soldier that sent us to stand behind the white line did it very courteously. To say the truth there weren't many pedestrians or vehicles passing.
8:15- Awarta- the checkpoint commander wanted to see the Machsom Watch tags that hung on our necks. He said he never saw such a tag. When he had finished asking questions he turned his back to us and quietly whispered a curs, he then went and stood beneath the shade the fell from the green flags that the settlers hung over his booth. Awarta still isn't as busy as it was during its "heydays", but it was a little bit more crowded then it was during August and September, and the soldiers weren't thorough with the car inspections. However they had to wait several minutes between inspecting one car and the other, that way they were able to create a very long line of trucks. There were only two cars that stood in the back to back system. An ambulance and a carthat both had the logo of the Red Crescent on them, were detained for several minutes, which seemed to the passengers in the car to be a very long time, they were probably in a great hurry. They looked at us with angry looks.
8:55 yitzhar-Burin was open.
9:00 Za'atara- 27 vehicles were in line heading from Huwwara to Ramala. 20 vehicles were waiting in line from Ariel to Ramala.
9:05- Zeita was still blocked. Marda was open.
Translation: Hanna K.
Summary: An enormous traffic jam at Za'tara/Tapuach. A disgraceful sanitary condition at the parking lot at Huwara. There is a crew of soldiers composed of yeshiva students who are not prepared to talk to us but there is an efficient and good activity of the DCO representatives at the CP. There is a visit of the head of the civil administration and the commanders of the DCO. Stone blockades: Zeita (road no. 5), Jinsafut , Azzun (road no. 60)
07:10 Zeita -
The exit from the village in the direction of road no. 5 is blocked with concrete square blocks - nothing new.
We noticed a group of soldiers near jeeps. Later we understood who they were.
07:20 Za'tara/Tapuach CP -
From the west there are three vehicles only, but from the north (Nablus) there extends an endless traffic-jam in two lanes. To our surprise, moments after our arrival there was a movement and a quicker checking process. Near the CP a third lane was opened. Its opening created a security risk for the cars driving in the opposite track, but the intolerable waiting-time in the critical morning hours became shorter. We therefore did not call the Center and/or the DCO and continued on our way.
07:40 Burin/Yitzhar Junction - the CP is not manned
07:45 Huwwara CP
In the pedestrians' area few people pass, but two lanes are open (the eastern and the middle ones) as well as the humanitarian lane. The x-ray screening maching is in action.
In the vehicles lane there are almost no cars, even from the North. Excepting one car whose checking took a quarter of an hour, there were no real delays in both directions.
The soldiers work quietly and efficiently, but the morning crew refuses even to answer our greeting (yeshiva students). Luckily the two DCO representatives T. and S. are present - they act in all the parts of the CP and came to our rescue when we managed to summon them.
The parking lot, next to the CP, is shockingly filthy. The dirt flows over everywhere. On the other hand at the CP area there is a cleaning man, and the area is indeed clean. When we tried to clarify the matter with the DCO representatives it also transpired that the toilets are out of order. The parking lot is meant to serve hundreds and even thousands of people, men, women and children, every day. Some of them, like the drivers, have to remain there for many long hours. The sanitary condition is unbearable. We have commented on this already many times.
08:35 Beit Furik CP
There are no vehicles waiting at the parking lot near the CP and from Nablus too there is no traffic. The pedestrians' traffic to is sparse, but slowly the stream grows. We stood behind the CP (as we were forbidden to approach the checking posts). Today there is a pleasant crew, especially the commander who came down to us to say hello. The CP was opened this morning at 05:00.
09:10 Back at Huwwara
There is still no pressure, even not at the vehicle lanes.
09:20 A car from Ramallah is ordered to return. The papers which the driver holds have expired two months ago. The two DCO representatives explain to him what he has to do and also to shorten the process by a coordination by phone between Ramallah and Huwwara.
An elderly sick women leaning on a walking stick and supported with difficulty by a young woman arrives from the south to the vehicle lane. We ask the soldiers to enable here to pass the sterile area by a car that has just now arrived. The soldiers refuse ("she can walk"), and turn their back on us. We couldn't refrain from remarking: "Both you and this woman were created in His image". Fortunately, the DCO representative arrived again and they arranged the transportation. Although this is what is expected from them - we thanked them.
09:25 An entourage of officers arrives at the CP. It turns out that this is a visit of the head of the civil administration, accompanied by Ra'ad, the commander of the DCO and other officers, including a photographer in civilian clothes. One of the people takes notes. They tour the CP and in the end alight next to us. We are happy to reply to the that it will be alright after the occupation, but under the present circumstances one has to be concerned with many things such as not to detain people beyond the most necessary minimum, but also with the following:
A. reasonable and humane humanitarian condition, such as - a clean parking and transportation area, toilets and drinking fountains in working order, a shed where one can hide from the sun and the rain. We suggested they should glance at the garbage dump,
B. One has to sharpen the soldiers instructions to pay good attention to humanitarian situations such as the case of the old woman of this morning. A local sweeping decision not to talk to us and not to listen to what we say (not meaning idle chatter, nor teasing, insulting or disturbing them in their work) does not prevent mistakes nor add to the honor of the Israeli Defence Forces.
09:40 A Palestinian who has been in prison and has been released turns to us. The papers he has are meant to allow him passage, but each time he gets to the CP - he is detained. We again called T. from the DCO and he suggested he should go to the DCO and ask for a certificate of acquittal which will take him off all the lists.
It was decided that if he shouldn't get this certificate he would come back to the CP and ask for DCO representatives. He has no phone. We took his details and left our telephone number with him.
10:00 we left the CP via road no. 60 to check the blockades.
The exit from the villages Jinsafut and Azzun to the road is blocked by square blockades.
At Funduq where yesterday afternoon there was a lively army movement and a road block, it is now quiet and open.
Translation: Hanna K.
It needs to be stressed in advance - the tour in which Edna participated is not a standard one. We did indeed visits CPs but the main part of the shift took place between them, with conversations with locals in the parking lots, in the café, in the village etc.
At Huwwara we met two women and their children, they told us that their husbands are Jordanians and without rights, and moreover there is a real problem at the moment - one of the children is hard of hearing and is not treated properly (although she paid 400 IS which most be an enormous sum for her).Edna took all the possible details and promised to try and assist with the help of Doctors for Human Rights.
Somewhere else we talked (mainly Edna, of course, with her fluent Arabic) with a group of men. A kind of small talk - they told us that the quiet at the CPs today is a result of the Anapolis conference in the background. They personally are of the opinion that it is necessary to compromise - they won't get more than the 67 frontiers, so one has to "go ahead with this".
At the beginning of the day at Za'tara (Tapuach) there was a long and slow queue from the south. A taxi driver and his passengers are detained and their papers taken.
Each bus that arrives is stopped and its passengers are made to alight for control. It turned out that the taxi was stopped as a "punishment" because the driver didn't obey the instructions of the CP commander and tried to outsmart him. After a short clarification talk the CP commander agreed to return the papers to the passengers "but not to the driver, they are not guilty, let them go". In the meantime a commander with the rank of lieutenant colonel arrived, after a few smooth words Edna succeeded to convince him that a punishment was not in place and an order was issued to release the driver (in the meantime he also ordered to speed the passage up, and indeed the long queue that was when we arrived miraculously became short). We then continued to talk with him a quite futile conversation - one shouldn't punish but it is also impossible to let them creat havoc. If a driver bypasses the queue this harms the Palestinians. To all our words, to the effect that it's not Zahal's business to deal with the education of the Palestinians but to see to the safety and security of the state of Israel
the reply always was "yes, but one cannot allow..."
At Huwwara village we chanced upon a border police jeep. They stopped some van and demanded that he remove his license plate.
We left after the lad expressed his full belief that the event would end without violence.
At Burin there is not CP in any direction.
At Huwwara - all is quiet, very quiet. A coffee stand and a beigel stand are active without disturbance.
At the CP the soldiers are calm and only few people coming and going. A young lad sits without handcuffs in the detention cell. (when we returned after some time he wasn't there any more).
Beit Furik - the soldiers are really bored, we held a long conversation with them near the booth (no white line was mention today!) they are very militant, are sure that here they defend the country but that one has to treat people fairly (except one military policewoman who was prepared to hit each one of us and every living Palestinian).
All in all an interesting shift. The CPs are quiet and without special events, a fact which enabled us "by means of" Edna to get to know today a little the people whom we always only see passing at the CPs.
13.30 Haras -
The checkpoint at the entrance to the village open.
Bidia CP - at the entrance to the village of Karwat Banei Has is open and the young people sitting there say it is open most of the time and only closed for a couple of hours.
The entrance to Marda is open.
The road at the entrance to Zeita is still blocked.
At Za'tara -
There were 19 cars in both directions and no cars were detained but the checking took a long time. The commander said the there was a hot alert that a father and son had gone out in a car for terrorist purposes and they were looking for a specific ID. All cars and passengers were checked.
14.10 - The checkpointat at Burin/Yitzhar was not manned.
At Awarta - we met soldier with a D-9 digging and when we asked what they were doing said "a trench." On our way back from Beit Furik the trench was completed and a d barrier of ground blocked the fields from the village. We asked ourselves how the man working his lands with his tractor was going to get back.
14.20 The carpark was empty and 10 pedestrians passed quickly. The DCO representative approached and greeted us and a conversation ensued with the soldiers. They said proudly that they had caught two detonator belts but when we asked if this had been at the checkpoint itself they said sheepishly that it had been in the area.
Suddenly a minor commotion erupts. The military policewoman is sending back two young men in a trade van. The men had tried to take a gas canister through the pedestrian passage and been refused because of an order forbidding this. They had tried to put it into a car whose driver was an elderly man but the soldiers had seen this and sent him back. He could pass without the canister. That was that.
When we asked who could take through a canister we were told that only when it was a truck carrying a load of suchlike.
Two young men with a canister are suspicious. "It is also forbidden take through engines."
In the meantime on the other side a young father is trying to take his two little children through. Because of the previous episode the military policewoman locks the turnstile with the little children inside and they cannot move. But the DCO representative sees this after a minute and orders her to open it.
A taxi driver tries to explain that the prophet says there can be no peace but only a truce which has to be renewed every 5 years.
Two settlers are standing at the hitching post and recognizing us scream at us to leave. We do not answer the provocation and continue. The shed is only half full and people kept waiting for only a minute or so.
We asked an elderly man why and he said that the term had ended and the students were preparing for their exams.
Here too the DCO representative approaches us and introduces himself pleasantly.
Today the soldiers here are very pleasant. They do not shout and try to let people through quickly. The men do not have to take off their belts or do the "dance".
At the entrance to the sheds elderly people wait and no one scolds at them to move saying this is a sterile area. Women are checked by ID and parcels.
16.00 Burin/Yitzhar - is not manned.
16.10 Za'tara/Tapuach - 10 cars in both directions.
Translation: Snait G.
The gate is open, There are still big concrete blocs in Zeita
No zoning separation this morning.
At the checkpoint on the road from Tul karem 8 vehicles, passengers of a bus waiting near its door. When we left 12 minutes later, their Ids were being returned to them.
Three lanes at the Za'tara-Nablus checkpoint. Vehicles go through quickly- it takes 1minute ordinary cars, about 2 for cab service- while the passengers Ids are being checked. Around 53 vehicles in the queue.
No military activity at the Beita entrance, No active chekpoint at Burin- Yitzhar.
7.55 Beit Furik.
No vehicles waiting, Hardly any passing both ways. Not too many people going through, their check-up is quick. Rachel helped a man with a Jordanian passport, who has been living for 10 years with his family in Beit Dajan to go through by calling Nablus head quarters. We gave him the tel num of "Hamoked lehagant haprat", in hope they may be able o help.
2-3 vehicles on queue to enter Nablus, 7 to exit. An Israeli Palestinian waiting in the parking lot in his car. Yesterday he was allowed to enter to see his family but today, upon exiting, was told to wait for the police, as Israeli citizens are not allowed in. The temporary commander said that he regretted these were to rules concerning him. Later on, thanks to Zvia's connection to a police officer at Ariel he was allowed to go( we came back from Huwwara for that about 45 minutes later, and while there saw two-back-to back unloading taking place).
No cars exiting Nablus, few cars entering, checked up quickly. X ray machine, No dogs,
Almost upon our arrival one detainee is put in the cubicle, and 10 minutes later another one. We asked the DCO person to take care of them. The queue for women and older people moves fast. The one for younger men is slower, not many people, around 3 minutes per person.
The young women who serve as military policewomen are loud, impatient and shrill towards the Palestinians, even though this is just morning time. At some stage they demanded that all men crowding around the turnstiles exiting Nablus will go backwards and then proceed one by one( checkpoint rhyming).
We wenty back to Awarta( see above). The detainees were gone by the time we returned. Two cabs exiting Nablus were checked long and meticulously. Rahcel tried to help a fellow who has been refused a magnetic card for a long time.
A long queue of over 50 vehicles. Only two lanes were active and the commander claimed that he does not have enough soldiers to man a third one, because he gets extra people only for the early morning shift. Check-up takes 1-2 minutes per vehicle.
In the parking lot bus passengers are waiting in half circle to get their Ids back. While the driver reads calls their names a military policewoman goes around and checks their bags- a procedure we have not seen before.
At the Za'tara - Tul Karem CP 8 cars, a meticulous check-up of IDs.
Numerous Palestinians referred to Anapolis when talking with us.