'Awarta, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 3.6.09, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
From the west - 3 vehicles; pretty crowded from the north (at least 20 vehicles) when we arrived, but they go through quickly in two lanes, and documents are barely inspected. Since we parked outside the parking lot we aroused the suspicions of one of the soldiers stationed there, and he came over to find out who we were. To our surprise, he said it was the first time he saw one of our shifts here. A settler came over at the same time, sniffed around our car and ran to tell the soldiers. Since he didn't get the response he wanted, he started making calls. We left as we had planned, so nothing more developed, but maybe that was evidence of increasing tension in the area.
There were now 12 cars on line.
The parking lot is half empty. The coffee-seller told us that most of the drivers now work out of Nablus, because it's easier for them to get passengers there, and the wait to be inspected at the checkpoint is now shorter. Usually only ID's are check. A taxi driver told us the same thing, adding: "Early in the morning it's a little more crowded."
10-15 people at the pedestrian checkpoint. Only one inspection lane is open.
The x-ray machine is now operating near the checkpoint. Drivers in the entry lane come closer and move back, as usual, depending on how alert the soldiers are. It takes 15 minutes on average to go through the checkpoint.
Two young men (as it happened, those we selected in order to time how long it takes to go through) who noticed me standing and making notes came over when they exited the checkpoint to find out who I was and what organization I belonged to. It turned out that one of them was a Palestinian with US citizenship who ran a real estate business in Nablus and other places, and his friend was a music teacher from France working in Nablus; he's going home in two weeks. I gave them an explanation and the URL of the web site. At the end of the conversation the businessman volunteered his insight: "It's not the soldiers' fault, they're children, young - the regime is to blame!"
We tried to get information on the stabbing which occurred Tuesday, but didn't learn more that what was already known.
We should emphasize: We weren't moved away from the checkpoint area, and we even contacted N. from the DCO while coming near the inspection booths.
The vehicle area: Sparse traffic and a pretty superficial inspection.
9:15 Huwwara DCO.
There's a new awning where it's comfortable to wait. We met a number of people - each one with a story. We took some initial steps to help:
1) A father of a boy born with one hand shorter than the other, seeking treatment in Israel, but so far has been refused.
2) A young woman applying to emigrate and has to come to the embassy, but since the date and time aren't specified, but only the days the embassy is open, she's met a blank wall. After a phone call to Z. it was agreed that a relative would come with the young woman and he'll try to help.
3) A man from the village of Luban, whose brother yesterday was given a demolition order on a building was instructed by us who to speak with in order to received legal assistance. (By the way - he said that the land on which the DCO is built is registered in documents to his grandfather, and over the years other parts of their land have been plundered.)
In sum, it's worthwhile, and also desirable, to stop by the DCO from time to time, and to try again to get authorization to observe in the waiting room inside.
10:15 Awarta. Light traffic.
Opposite Beita - a Border Police jeep inspects vehicles randomly.
Za'tara-Tapuach - 5 vehicles on line, but go through quickly.