Awarta, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 25.11.07, Morning
In preparation for Annapolis – especially strict inspections and long lines.
7.20 Zeita - concrete cubes are blocking the exit out of the village.
7.35 Za'tara – 17 vehicles heading east.
7.40 north-south checkpoint - 2 cars are detained. A lab technician who is in one of these cars was supposed to be at work by 7.30. Passengers say they have been waiting here for half an hour. Palestinians in the other cab are in a hurry to get to court. The cab driver tells us that drivers who were ahead of him have let him go past them, in order to be able to be in court on time, but the soldiers noticed him passing and detained him.
We approach the CP commander. He claims that the car in which the lab worker was riding was going through the humanitarian line, so it was detained. For how long? Until he decides otherwise, of course!
The other cab was detained, he said, because it was passing other cars. We told him that the driver passed the other cars after receiving their permission. The commander doesn't care. The driver hit the side barriers when he was driving past the other cars, and at any rate, there must be order at the check point. When will the driver be released? When he behaves.
The driver asked to speak to the officer, who agreed after a lot of persuasion from us. It was really depressing to watch the elderly driver begging to the officer who was young enough to be his son, and promising him to be a good boy from now on.
8.15 company commander I. arrives. We approach him, he is busy, but promises to talk to us as soon as he's free.
8.25 company commander I. comes to us. We tell him about the two detained cabs. He is attentive to our requests, and both cabs are allowed to move on within a few minutes.
8.35 on the way from Za'tara we count 94 vehicles waiting at the checkpoint, and about 20 more on their way towards it. We report to the humanitarian Center and ask them to intervene.
8.40 Itzhar: 15 cars from Tul-Karem are waiting, and 4 other cars from Huwwara.
8.45 Awarta: we arrived here following a report from Miki about a soldier who has hit a Palestinian. When we arrive, a soldier is running towards us. We introduced ourselves, and he allowed us to park in the parking lot. He denies that he or any other soldier at the checkpoint has hit any Palestinian. A.A. who was the source of the information, backed up from the story of hitting, but insists that a soldier has pushed the Palestinian.
9.15 a very long line of trucks from Awarta. A driver who has come here to unload the contents of his vehicle to be reloaded on another vehicle on the other side of the checkpoint (back to back) tells us with anger that he has been waiting in the checkpoint for two hours. We report the long line to the Humanitarian Center. trucks arriving on the side of the line are sent back to the end of the line.
9.35 we were called to Itzhar junction, we are told that some settlers are throwing stones at Palestinians there. When we arrive, the place is quiet. There are only a few cars. We ask a soldier what's happening, and he says there were no settlers here and no stones were thrown.
9.45 we return to Awarta. Captain H. from the DCO is here. We hear him give instructions to the soldiers. What we can get is that he is telling them that the trucks designated for the "back to back" procedure are not supposed to wait in the main line. We were not able to find out for sure, but the trucks that were sent to the end of the line before may have been "back to back" trucks, and the drivers knew that they were not supposed to wait in the main line, but the soldiers were not aware of the proper procedure for that and hence sent them back to the end of the line.
9.55 Huwwara: the place is quiet. 30-40 people in the carousels. 3 posts of X-Ray machines are active. No special events.
10.30 we left the checkpoint.