Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 12.12.07, Afternoon
The entrances to Kifel Haret and Zeita are still blocked and goods are taken over back to back.
14.30 Checkpoint Za'tara/Tapuach
18 cars in both directions which pass swiftly.
Is a new checkpoint being built here? A huge army tractor is levelling the area and it seems that the road is going to be widened. This will be the third checkpoint over 7 kilometres...checkpoint of Huwwara to the crossroads of Za'tara. Maybe the whole of road 60 should be converted into a stretch of checkpoints.
14.40 Huwwara The sign forbidding Israelis to enter area A is covered by posters calling on the settlers to put up new colonies. So if in the future an Israeli citizen will be detained for having gone into the area he will be able to ask...but where is it written?
Many people stand at the back of the turnstiles but there is a strange silence. The humanitarian line moves along steadily during our entire shift. The Palestinians say that today the checkpoint is a good one. It is sad to see how people have to get used to a bad situation and then to say that this bad situation is "good". No lines of cars and now and again the dogtrainer comes but does not check.
3 times men were detained and after 5-30 minutes are freed.
A man comes with a woman who went through the checkpoint an hour ago and forgot her ID. The commander looks at him not knowing what they want. The man begins to stutter and then the commander asks what her name is and when he tells him hands him the orange ID which was in his hand all the time and says, "She must not forget it again. THEY lose too many IDs." He only wanted to enjoy himself a bit and to make them worry. To show his power.
15.55 A man comes and says that the soldier in the humanitarian line is shouting at the women and older men and humiliating them. The soldier has a big 10 written on his jacket. We had not noticed him doing this but as soon as he saw us looking at him he left. He should be watched,
16.00 An ambulance with sirens screaming arrives and as the one lane is blocked takes the second. But the soldier ignores him. The ambulance had put off the siren when it came to the checkpoint as is ordered. The soldier takes his time going to the private car in the first lane. I call him and ask him to go to the ambulance where the crew are waving their hands and obviously in distress. But he just comes on slowly and says "What do you think I am doing? Playing chess." When the car drives off the ambulance comes forward and at least five minutes have been lost. May that same soldier never know the feeling of a life which was lost because those 5 minutes prevented the patient getting to the hospital on time.
The university vacation starts tomorrow until 12.1.2008 or after the holiday 23.12...this was from different students.
16.15 A man who went on foot on an apartheid road to Beit Furik was detained by an army jeep. First the soldiers from afar signed to him to stop...they were also on foot and he stopped and waited. He could have run away as they were far off. They checked his ID and all went on their way.
16.30 Beit Furik.
Today a driver says the checkpoint is good. Only one car and few pedestrians who pass quickly. An old man sits and smokes a cigarette in the shed and has a cup of coffee which the soldier tells us proudly that he made for him. The commander who tells us to make a note of his name, Vadir Kalminian, sends us away and will not tell us how long the man has been there or why. He and another 5 soldiers stop the checking and stand around us and say that they will not go on checking until we leave. A line begins to form. I phone R. at the DCO firstly about the old man. Why should an old man have to be detained in the freezing Nablus weather and also that the checkpoint has been closed because of our presence. He advises us to advance to the beginning of the checkpoint and then to phone him. He says he will not send a captain of the DCO for the old man but if the soldiers close the checkpoint he will have to do so.
When we advanced the soldiers freed the old man and we decided that it was pointless to bother the DCO as it would take them an hour to get there and the Palestinians would freeze in the cold. We moved back and the commander came to explain to us that his job was not to allow anyone who did not live there to pass through to Beit Furik. I asked him if this was what he had hoped to do when he enlisted and he was a bit confused but then said that Beit Furik is a village full of terrorists . He quotes the lectures he has heard without thinking too much about them.
When we leave a taxi driver insists on taking us 20 metres to our car and that warms the heart.
17.30 Huwwara, Hardly any movement and a driver tells us to go to Za'tara where there is a long line but at 17.50 we find no line and only a few cars,.