Beit Furik, Huwwara, Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sat 23.7.11, Morning

Natalie C., Ruti R. (both reporting)

Ilil N.B. translating

10:00 Za’atra (Tapuah) Checkpoint

Deep within the parking lot, we see a Palestinian woman sitting, and, next to her, two Border Policemen.  We enter.  Turns out there are three GSS-delayed people, who were apprehended at 07:45 (according to the full Border Police report).  They are separated from each other and are not permitted to speak amongst themselves, and definitely not with us.  One is sitting in a tiny angular metal hut, another between concrete barricades, and the woman (who is pregnant) on a chair under the pillbox.

“Isn’t he boiling in there?” We ask the soldiers, referring to the man in the hut, whose tiny windows are all closed.

“No, it’s open at the top.”  Indeed, there’s a wide space between the walls and the ceiling.

Border Police are holding the green ID cards and filling out reports.  They don’t know why they’re delaying these people, they’re just “carrying out orders.”  Who are they waiting for? They don’t want to say.  Don’t talk to us or bother us, they warn, or we’ll call the police.  We called Hanna, and she, in her untold ways, immediately set on finding out what was going on.

10:45 Huwarra Checkpoint

There are no soldiers on the road and no pillboxes.  We go through till the exit to Beit Furik.

11:00 Beit Furik Checkpoint

Empty of soldiers.

11:45 Za’atra (Tapuah) again

We’re stopped at a line of 25 cars.  It takes us 4 minutes to get to the 2 Border Policemen who’d slowed down the traffic, examining cars and sometimes stopping them.  At this moment, there are two delayed cars: a civil policeman is writing a ticket for a Palestinian headed to Jericho whose back seat has 4, instead of three, passengers (two mothers and two infants).  The three GSS-delayed people are out of our sight.  Were they released? Taken away? [Hanna says the former].

12:10 Ma’ale Efraim Checkpoint

No soldiers.

12:40 Hamra Checkpoint

We see 5 soldiers. 

12:43: A large taxicab arrives from the West Bank.  The passengers disembark, the cab crosses and, behind it, another car approaches for examination: trunk, driver’s papers.  From the Jordan Valley to the West Bank: a soldier signals to a car and it passes.  Another signal, another car.  They aren’t checked, but are simply allowed to pass. 

12:50: A car from the West Bank is stopped and turned back – can’t cross.  One man from a cab is also prevented from crossing and turns back.  Unlike previous times we’ve been here, the traffic goes both ways.  Also, the soldiers don’t delay people – they’re sharp to notice who’s coming and wave people through.   The delays happen instead in the examination room: there are currently 4 cars and a taxi awaiting their passengers.  An Israeli car attempts to cross into the West Bank.  A soldier stops it and reroutes it to the Valley.  Slow stream from the examination room.

13:10: It’s taken the 10 taxi passengers 25 minutes to complete the examination! At least half the passengers are women and children.

13:15: Small trucks and taxis carrying laborers cross over into the West Bank.  In the last shift, we saw them crossing by foot, and attempting to catch taxis or hitchhike on the other side.

13:40 Tayasir Checkpoint

3 soldiers.  No traffic.

13:52: A taxi crosses from the Valley to the West Bank.  One raised arm and it passes, after papers are checked (it’s always curious, how they check papers here but not in Hamra).

14:15 Hamra Checkpoint again

4 cars await passengers undergoing examination in the examination room.  Cars cross into the West Bank quickly, following raised hang signals, of course.

14:50 Ma’ale Efraim Checkpoint