Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 9.12.07, Afternoon

Noa P., Galit G. and Tal H. (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

 Translation: Tal H.

15:00 Za'tara/Tapuach Junction - empty in all directions

Yitzhar-Huwwara Junction  -
Army roadblock checking Israeli vehicles, probably following the colonist projects foreseen for today.

15:15 - Huwwara Checkpoint

Checkpoint commander - Second Lieutenant A.; DCO representative -T.;

3 active checking posts. X-Ray truck active - situated conveniently in the middle of a deep mud puddle. Which complicates the recovery of luggage into the porter carts.

Upon our arrival -one detainee in the concrete cell - a taxi driver caught driving on the Jews-only road from the Checkpoint towards Alon More colony. According to the CP commander he is suspected with carrying weapons. Galit was not allowed to talk to him - "He might be hostile".

The special side line for women children and the elderly is open and functioning all the time. The pedestrians waiting behind the turnstiles are impeccable single files. The air is filled mostly with a shrill trio of shrieking MPwomen - at the Palestinians, at one another, and just to let off steam.

15:30 - A soldier catches a young man trying to 'leak' out through the entry turnstiles instead of the usual checking procedures. Full chase, weapons drawn, catch. Our men beam. Got him.

A resident of Beit Dajan approaches and tells us that yesterday at the Beit Furik Checkpoint, when he wanted to enter Nablus with a vehicle he bought for its parts, the police confiscated the car and took its papers, to the Ariel police station. He was not handed any paper witnessing the procedure. Noa calls the army hotline that promises to look into it.

The body checks are strict as usual: a girl soldier pats down the t-shirted back of a man turning around to show his middle. A young man wearing sweat pants is required to tolerate a thorough touch-check of his crotch with a manual magnetometer.

16:20 - our men have caught another 'sneaker'. When Galit called the hotline to ask about the detaineesinfo-icon, she was told that before the three punitive hours were up, nothing was to be done.

16:30 - Beit Furik Checkpoint

A bit further down the road bound for Alon More, another army barrier checking Isralei cars (which only slow down a bit and continue on their way).

At the checkpoint, vehicles are checked by a dog.

Pedestrians trickle through. Soldiers not hostile, and eventually get curious and want to hear our opinions of the checkpoints etc. And they did.

17:20 - Back to Huwwara Checkpoint

The detainees are still inside. This time the commander is aggressive towards us as well. "You know you shouldn't stand here!" he threatens to stop everything if we "disturb" him again (after asking him what about the detainees).

Just before we left for Beit Furik, an Israeli couple from Dir Al Asad is detained for having entered Nablus. The man stands with a crutch. As we return to Huwwara, they are still standing there. The man paces restlessly, wrapped in a blanket (it is very cold!). "Stop, you've harassed us enough!" he tells the CP commander. The officer obviously enjoys  playing with their IDs in his pocket. The man approaches the checking shack and appeals to the DCO rep., loses his patience and becomes hysterical - cries, loses his breath, leans on the officer's shoulder who calls to the commander for help (the latter prefers to keep talking on his phone). The man collapses on the ground (A. still on the phone, a meter away).
Later we found out he fell as a result of a sudden severe rise in blood pressure and heart beat. A Palestinian medic waiting in one of the lines rushed to help him.
Soon an army ambulance arrived complete with doctor and three medics, armed with rifles and stretchers who stormed the shack. Then an army intensive care mobile unit arrived as well and the man was held in it for quite a while. Finally he got out and the medical corps left. His talk with Galit revealed that he underwent back surgery half a year ago.

Suffering frequent bouts of severe pain, he took an acquaintance's advice to consult some treatment in Nablus, and that was why they entered the city. He said he was son of a (army) bereaved family, and described the entire detention as pure harassment. He yelled at A. "I am a stinking Israeli!" A family relative picked them up at the checkpoint.

The Checkpoint emptied, and we left at 18:20.