Beit Furik, Huwwara, Sun 2.12.07, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
Checkpoint commander quoting the regional brigade commander Amir Bar'am -
"Palestinians should be detained for six hours".
15:30 - Huwwara Checkpoint in clockwork condition, all roles competently filled.
The Palestinians stand in perfect single file behind the turnstiles, the soldiers in their checking posts. We thought about the rain that was pouring there a while before we arrived, how people - unsheltered - must have been drenched on their way to reach the taxis, where the women and children could have stood, being forever banned from the only sheds in sight, how they could have protected their babies, what did the venders do with all their chocolate, biscuits and hot beverages, is this rainfall a blessing for them too?
The water streamed generously into the detention cubicle as well and the four detainees, three of them held there as punishment since 12:30 crowd upon a plank placed above the puddle that formed on the floor like a life raft.
The first detainee, a thin boy, has been waiting for the GSS interrogators since 9:30 a.m.
The checkpoint commander calls his HQ every 15 minutes and asks that they come to pick him up, but the GSS has its own schedules. And it can also change its mind, even after six hours. At 16:35 we complained to the army hotline about the boy waiting since morning in the cold and rain, and said six hours. 20 minutes later the DCO representative on the spot (T.) reports to us that here, the boy is about to be handed over to the Palestinian police. Another 20 minutes go by and a Palestinian police car arrives, coordinates things with the DCO and takes the boy into Nablus.
The three other detainees are the drivers of two trucks caught at 12:30 while driving from the intersection towards Awarta on the road forbidden to Palestinians. They said that while turning at the intersection, there was an army vehicle standing but the soldiers did not warn them not to turn there, and having turned, were hunted down. Their IDs and car keys were confiscated and they were led into the concrete cubicle.
By order of the brigade commander they are being detained for 6 hours, but the CP commander says that it's been 4 hours already and he'll let them go soon, for they're freezing and wet.
At 16:03, as they are being released, one of the soldiers says: "Well, will you still drive on this road next time?... You see? Now you've learned!" And they admit that they didn't know, they'll never ever drive a Jews-only road again, but really, why isn't there a sign saying it's forbidden?
And why didn't the soldiers in the jeep say anything?
A woman pulling her two little children along defiantly says to us in English, "There's no need for you to stand here!" The women are let through quickly, and then face a long and exasperating wait, even though they stand silently and when chased away from the "sterile" area, they obey fast and un-protesting. The men after being checked at the turnstiles try to fix their appearance. They have to hold their coat and trouser belt, their trouser button open, shopping bags in hand, books and notebooks, cigarette pack, keys, coins, change - all in their hands and thus trying to re-belt their trousers, tuck their shirts in, button up, get their belongings back into their pockets, all the while being chased hurriedly by the soldier away from the shed - "Come on, git..." - calmly, without shouting.
The CP functions flawlessly. N., the Military Police company commander asks if we have any complaints or comments. We commented on the fact that the girl soldier at the vehicle checking post is forced to yell the ID numbers to the girl-soldier inside the computerized checking post and the latter yells her answers back. He said, yes, that is really not in order.
Beit Furik Checkpoint:
A soldier at the observation tower yells at us: "Save your ink. One day the Arabs will all be gone, this is our land only and we'll kick them out of here..." Probably us well.
We stood by the entrance turnstile. The checkpoint was empty, dark, cold and wet. Few people passed quickly and were swallowed into the few taxis that were still left at the taxi park bound for Beit Furik. Cars were passed after a short checking. These soldiers too seem to have learned their "job" and everything works like clockwork.
The zealous observer reported a Palestinian truck exiting Beit Furik and driving on the apartheid road towards Huwwara. At the entrance to Itamar colony, an army Humvee stood, lighting the road with a blinding projector, like a hunter waiting its prey.