Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sat 6.10.07, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
We arrived at 7:10 a.m. and found 48 cars waiting in the queue. At the bottom of the hill a jeep was parked and beside it an officer with the rank of lieutenant and two soldiers who were mainly occupied with directing the traffic. The officer was a reservist and our appearance in the area shocked him; he attempted to explain to us how dangerous the place is.
We ascended the hill and saw that the cars were not inspected on any of the three sides of the roadblock and the traffic was flowing. We left a little before 8:00 a.m.
The ‘flock' is the nickname given by the soldiers to those standing in the various queues. Is this another innovation in the discussions on reconciliation? Or is it just an expression of the IDF's view of the Palestinians- chickens.
The queue at the entrance to Nablus reaches the car park and many, many people are crowded in there. Since there is no inspection at the entrance to Nablus what is the purpose of the turnstile?
After we approach the roadblock commander people are told to cross on the road and the crowding abated.
The queues of cars in both direction flowed - the crossing to Nablus did not take more than seconds and the exit from Nablus, in spite of the presence of the dog handler, took about ten minutes.
The dog and its owner enjoyed a rest and a game with the soldiers and were not required to do anything during the time we were there.
It took young people about an hour to cross and about ten minutes via the ‘humanitarian' crossing.
Detainees: on our arrival we found a detainee in the lock-up who ‘had been disrespectful and cursed a soldier' who was speedily joined by another man. These two had just been released (within less than half an hour) then, one after another, three others were added. They were all released within minutes and their documents returned. One of the detainees took the time to check whether the document returned to him was actually his - what luck because otherwise another unending ‘quest' would have been undertaken.
The DCO: there was no DCO representative at the roadblock - or if there was he was invisible to us. We phoned Huwwara DCO, but the soldier refused to give us the name of the representative who was absent from the roadblocks, "because later you will complain and I'll get into trouble". Reading between the lines of the conversation it seemed to us that this was one of the soldiers we complained about after the night of the atrocity this week.
Summary: Huwwara roadblock ‘ran smoothly' today, the soldiers behaved satisfactorily, the commanders listened to our requests - everything appeared to be ‘satisfactory'. It is hard to describe in words the rage and humiliation of the hundreds of thousands crossing every day, and this is not the only roadblock that they are forced to cross in the Palestinian territories. The sight of people undressing and dressing publicly - men in front of young women - the scornful behaviour of the soldiers, the smoking and eating in the presence of those fasting in these days of Ramadan, the never ending standing in queues, the fear that you will not be able to cross - all of this recurs and reveals itself to us on a daily basis as we stand at the various roadblocks, and we are unable to do anything about it.
We left at 11:30 a.m.