Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 30.8.09, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
Tapuach Za'tara Junction checkpoint 14:54
One checking post manned, traffic flowing unhampered. The concrete slabs around the compound still bear those huge posters in Hebrew: “The war is against the Arabs” and
“A Jew Sides with the Jews”.
Huwwara Checkpoint 15:05
One checking post operated for vehicles exiting Nablus, as usual lately, ID check for drivers of one out of every 10-15 cars coming out.
15:15 Sniffer-dog and trainer arrive, and from this point on regular vehicle dog-checks take place: very thorough including interior of passenger cabin, seats, doors, dashboard, trunk, and external inspection, lasting 5-7 minutes. Some passengers are required to wait with their backs to the procedure, some are not.
From 16:00 we witness the strangest procedure in the former taxi park that now stands nearly empty. 3 Palestinian cars are sent there by the soldiers. They wait there for quite a while, and a white civilian police jeep is present as well. After waiting there for about 20 minutes, the voice of a policeman is heard from inside the jeep, ordering them to approach him one by one with their documents. More waiting. After about half an hour – they are still present – a taxi arrives with yellow (Israeli) license plates, bearing driver and one passenger. The taxi collides (in haste) with the high curb at the entrance to the car park and sustains minor damage. Two of the Palestinian cars are released after some more waiting. A policeman comes out of his jeep, conducts an extremely thorough and lengthy search on the taxi’s passenger: tapping and touching the man’s body all over, emptying pockets, checking every coin and note in his wallet, peering into his open mouth! Seating him on the ground to check every shoe inside and out, every sock turned inside out, finally also unzipping and peering into his trousers front and back.
The second policeman, in the meantime, inspects the taxi most thoroughly, and then the driver undergoes the same inspection routine as his passenger. Once we see the inspecting policeman (a large black skullcap adorning his head) heartily tapping the inspectees’ shoulders.
As the procedure seems never-ending, we decide to pay Beit Furik a short visit and then return to check on police drama.
Beit Furik checkpoint 17:10
From our usual observation point we witness traffic moving in and out without interruption. 4 soldiers gaze at us through their telescopic rifle sights. As we concluded the Palestinians are not being hassled at the time, we decided to hurry back to Huwwara and check on the searches. Passing by Awarta checkpoint on our way back, we were stopped by a soldier who looked into our (Israeli) accent and gave our… tires a good thorough look-see.