Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 24.5.09, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
Tapuach Za'tara Checkpoint 14:55
About 30 cars waiting for inspection coming from Nablus.
A dog and trainer inspecting a Palestinian passenger van, the passengers stand aside as usual, a soldier holds his rifle pointing at them, securing the State of Israel.
Huwwara Checkpoint 15:30
Active X-ray truck, standing adjacent to the pedestrian lines, finally.
A sniffer-dog and its trainer inspecting vehicles, which are rather sparse today.
At the pedestrian lines (all active) movement is rapid, hardly any people.
One of the taxi drivers tells us that about an hour before we arrived he had a scuffle with one of the pedestrians and then a soldier 'threw tear gas'. Sounds strange against the quiet background today. But then, nothing really sounds strange when it comes to the security of the State of Israel.
Two young women stand out in our vigil today. At the detainees cell stands a young woman in traditional dress, a student at Al Najah University in Nablus. Every day she crosses this checkpoint for her family lives in Huwwara town. (This we hear from a young Palestinian journalist who knows her and brings her detention to our attention). Suddenly today, for the first time, she is detained. Her sin simple: In her ID she is registered as a Gaza resident. She has resided here in the West Bank with her parents for years, but there is no possibility to legally change her place of residence in her official papers. Israel will not permit it. We hear this confirmed by the DCO representative. Indeed - she may not move around the West Bank as a Gaza Strip resident, and she may not change the registration in her ID. And that's that.
[At the entrance to the checkpoint we talked with an old acquaintance from one of the villages in the area, who told us of his tragic plight, along the same lines: he wedded a young woman, resident of East Jerusalem and they had a baby daughter. Now the family is fragmented. He is prevented from entering the Holy City, she is afraid to budge from her parents home there, for fear of a surprise control visit by the authorities, lest they not find the mother and babe at home and their residency will be denied. I asked, naively, what would happen if the mother and babe move and register officially as residents of the father's village in the West Bank. Apparently there is no such possibility, as in the above case. The State of Israel will not allow it. And that's that.]
At the entrance to the checkpoint compound, in the roundabout, the firing position is wo-manned today. The woman combatant stands upright in the middle of the concrete post, a blue baseball cap on her head, her rifle held pointed at the vehicles approaching the checkpoint. Not especially arrogant looking, nice face, her age not much more nor less than that Palestinian student detained inside the checkpoint and prevented from going home at the end of her school day. Because her ID registration is wrong and she may not right it.
After an hour-and-a-half detention, she was allowed to proceed, after the Shabak (Security Services) gave its okay and the security of the State of Israel survived another targeted risk.
Beit Furiq Checkpoint 17:00
We stood, watched, enjoyed the beauty of the changing colors in the fields, and saw several vehicles entering and exiting Nablus here without delay.
**For those wondering where and how long it takes commercial vehicles and goods to travel from Huwwara town through Awarta to the Awarta checkpoint (formerly back-to-back) in order to reach and leave Nablus - on our way back from Beit Furiq we took this road, following complaints we received about incidents of Border Patrolmen harassing girls in Awarta.
Well, it's a long and winding road and extremely dangerous - narrow and snaking through the alleys of Awarta village. The numerous heavy trucks using it probably very noisily pollute the air and jeopardize all the residents, constantly.**