'Azzun 'Atma, Bruqin, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 2.1.12, Morning

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Observers: 
: Niva D., Nina S. (reporting), Gabi – guest, Translator: Charles K.
Jan-2-2012
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Morning

Today we saw flying checkpoints and a short line at Azzun Atma because of the rain

06:30  Azzun Atma – A surprise – almost no people on line.  Groups of people warming themselves outside around fires, a few sheltering under an overhang of some building on the side of the road.  It’s not raining at the moment.  The soldiers say it poured, and I can’t imagine the people who came earlier waiting on line.  We’re told that the rain is the reason so few people are crossing.  When it rains those who work outside don’t go to work, so there are many fewer people going to their jobs.  People trickled in all the time; a short line formed but quickly disappeared.  The soldiers are pleasant; they said they tried to move people through quickly so they didn’t have to stand in the rain.

We first continued to Bidya, then to Bruqin for people on the Shabak’s blacklist to sign requests to be removed.  Everywhere people try to invite us for coffee and more; we politely refused in order not to burden people who are unemployed with additional expenses.

We drove on toward Huwwara to get another person’s signature, and were sure that we’d then go home.  But, as always – you don’t know what will happen.  There were no soldiers at Tapuah.

09:00  Huwwara – We got the man’s signature, and saw soldiers at the checkpoint.  They’re stopping cars for some kind of inspection, and a line of 30 cars had formed.  Heavy traffic.  The soldiers pull some of the cars over to the side for a lengthy (15 minutes) inspection, and sometimes stop a car right in the lane, which makes a line form which can be long (30 cars) and which only disappears slowly after the car they stopped is released.  During the thorough inspection, the driver and passengers have to wait off to the side and are called back every so often when the soldiers want to open the trunk or something else.  The soldiers from the pillbox approach us at one point and demand to see our ID’s, which we show them.  It’s not worth getting into an argument.  Then they inform us where we’re allowed to stand.  That’s not worth arguing about either, because in any case we wouldn’t be able to hear what was going on, and we could still see.  [They explained that the inspection was to see whether the car contained any weapons or explosives.]  As if such a superficial inspection could find anything.

09:40  Tapuah – A police officer and a soldier at the checkpoint.  Cars slow down, the crossing is slow and there’s somewhat of a line approaching it.  Meanwhile they’re just observing, and then they stop a taxi – a line forms – and after some kind of inspection it’s sent over to the side, the passengers have to get out, the policeman collects their ID’s to check them from his car in the parking lot.  That took 15 minutes, and then the taxi was sent on its way.  The soldiers didn’t return again to the junction to check anyone else before we left.  The concertina wire fence erected a week ago (because of the visit to Joseph’s Tomb) was dismantled as promised.