Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 31.10.07, Morning

Dalia V., Moriyah F, Nurit V.L. (Reporting)

  Translation: Rachel B.

Summary: A lot of pressure at Za'tara, the usual scene at Huwwara, 2 detaineesinfo-icon held for punishment, orders prohibiting us from standing at the checkpoint area at Beit Fureik.

Beita 7:00 AM

The entrance is closed.  Vehicles are scattered on the side of the road.

Za'tara -Tapu'ach Junction 7:10 AM

More than 30 vehicles are waiting in the line coming form the north.  We called the DCO twice asking for assistance.  The checking through at the location went along very slowly.

Yitzhar Junction: open in all directions.

Huwwara: 7:30 AM

When we arrived we saw a small group of people (10-15) in the pedestrian lane. Two stations were open for processing plus a "humanitarian" line.

In the vehicle lanes: from the southern direction- empty.  An ambulance with its siren blaring arrived very fast and was not stopped.  From the north there are a few cars waiting for short periods. This was the case throughout our stay here.

The checking through went on smoothly and quietly.  The office in charge, N., is up on everything and answers questions politely and is responsive to our requests.  There is also a representative of the District Coordination Office on hand, T., who takes care of the situation of a young man who has lost his ID card.  Lo and behold!  The ID card was found.

The parking lot is very full and very dirty.  The area of the checkpoint is clean.

Beit Fureik: 8:45 AM

At this hour the traffic is fairly heavy, both pedestrians and cars. But there are no particular delays in checking people through, except for one truck which was waiting on the side when we arrived and was only released at 9:12 AM, after examination of the driver's identification documents. 

The army unit on location prevented us from getting close to the checkpoint area and the turnstiles, citing security concerns, which seemed rather doubtful.  We called the District Coordination Office and were told that they are aware of this but do not have the authority to change this policy. Only the Battalion Commander and/or the Brigade Commander do. 

The Deputy Company Commander arrived.  We took advantage of the opportunity and had a thorough conversation with him and asked him to work to change this policy{of preventing us from entering the checkpoint area} after giving him background information about our organization, our philosophy, the nature of our work and the importance of a civilian eye watching over the army for a democratic country and for Israel's reputation in the world.  The conversation was carried out in a friendly spirit and he listened carefully.  It ended with his promise to pass along our request and have it looked into.  We gave him a MachsomWatch business card and recommended to him that he visit our website.

Huwwara: 9:40 AM

Normal traffic without any particular pressure. Relatively low flow of cars in either direction.  At this hour, only one position is open for checking pedestrians through plus, in addition, a humanitarian line.  A young man who speaks Hebrew approaches us. His request for an entry permit in order to go to the hospital with his son has been denied once.  He was told to come back to the District Coordination Office.  We advised him to go back to the District Coordination Office and gave him Sylvia's phone number in case he is refused the permit again this time.

9:55 AM
:  There are 2 detainees who were put in the holding pen by a soldier staffing the checkpoint in order to punish them and with the threat that they will be held there overnight.  Dalia managed to figure out what had happened: the two men had been fighting - apparently about their place in the line.  The soldier decided that they are interfering with his work.  We requested intervention by the District Coordination Office representative and also asked the checkpoint commander {to address this}.

10:10 AM: We left the checkpoint when the two men were released.

Za'atra - Tapu'ach Junction

Fewer than 20 cars in the line from the north. A slight improvement.

The end!