'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 27.5.09, Afternoon
We went through the checkpoint at 1530 on the way to Huwwara and at around 1735 on the way back.
At 1530, there were no cars on the Road 5 side and about 5 waiting on the Hawwara side.
At 1745, there were no cars on the Road 5 side and about 35 waiting on the Hawwara side.
We arrived at the checkpoint at 1545 and stayed until 1650.
In the pedestrian exiting checkpoint, there were no more than 15 people throughout the time we were there. We timed one of the people waiting to exit and it took 7 minutes from joining the queue until completing the exit.
The machine for screening bags was moved from the cars area to the pedestrian area and many of the women crossing were asked to screen their bags.
Ahmed, the boy who sells water, tried to cross the checkpoint through the fast line and was asked to go back and return through the other line. He came to ask if we want to buy water and said that he would like to see the sea. A "small" incident, a big blow of appreciation. Children that live 40 minutes away from the sea might never see it. While he was standing and talking to us, we heard one soldier form the other side shouting to her friends that they should not let "the little snitch" talk to us.
One man reached the head of the queue and following a conversation and some shouting, was asked to return to the end of the queue. We didn't hear the details of the conversation but when I asked him what the problem was, after he exited, he said that the soldier did not like the look of him and there was no other reason.
In the cars checkpoint, there were very few cars entering and exiting and most of the time there were between 10 and 15 cars waiting to exit. We timed one of the cars waiting to exit and it took 6 minutes.
One car was stopped and the driver was asked to wait on the side of the road. The DCO explained that he was a "bingo" case. He was released after 10 minutes. The man seemed very relaxed and was exchanging jokes with the DCO. There was a feeling that both have been through this many times before and have almost become friends in the process.
Another man was stopped and asked to wait at the side of the road. Three soldiers inspected his car very carefully, including the back of the wheels. He was allowed to proceed after 20 minutes.
The EAPPI volunteers where also around today.
On the way to Beit Furik there were two trucks at the checkpoint. On the way back there were 5 trucks and cars.
We arrived at the checkpoint at 1700 and stayed until 1710.
The checkpoint was very quiet and very few cars crossed while we were there.
The pedestrian path leading to the checkpoint is being dismantled.