Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 13.1.08, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
15:10 - 17:45
On our way: driving along highway no. 5
Past Ariel colony the highway narrows into a pot-holed two-way road (one lane in each direction). Ariel is brightly lit and spacious, while at its feet, Marda village is strangled by this "step-sister" that has grown on top of it and the fence that has enclosed it. Marda villagers who until a few days ago could access the main road by foot and wait for a passing service taxi, can now do so only through the village's main entrance. The entrance further to the west, blocked with a dirt mound and an iron barrier that prevents vehicle passage, has yesterday been blocked with barbed wire thus eliminating another passageway for humans and livestock. On our way back into Israel we note the sky above Marda a bright orange color from an illuminating bomb.
It reminds us of the stories we learned in our youth about the Hagana's offense tactics in 1948 which would lead to massive expulsion of indigenous communities by scaring, closure and killing...
Access to Zeita village and its neighbors on road no. 5 is also blocked. Passengers have to resort to back-to-back embarking.
Zatara-Tapuach Junction Checkpoint -
17 vehicles southbound from Nablus. There will be 13 vehicles in the same direction on our way back in the evening.
Huwwara village-town has been under curfew since 9 a.m. today, until 3 p.m. Why? "The army says someone threw stones at a colonist driver". Or perhaps this is punishment of the villagers for having dared complain about the colonist who was running wild with violent acts two weeks ago, smashing shop windows and car windshields and? Everything is possible.
No checkpoint at Yitzhar-Huwwara junction.
15:10 - Huwwara CP.
Dco representative - R.
No detainees. 3 long waiting lines of pedestrian males in the shed, 2 special side lines active all the time, 2 checking posts for vehicles exiting Nablus, one of them wo-manned by sniffer-dog and trainer, the dog leaping and drooling all over the car's upholstery, steering wheel and engine in search of the its hidden prize...
The dog trainer-operator: a delicate looking girl, her smooth hair in a ponytail, not tall, not heavyset, the girl next door, easily a classmate. What is she doing here with her M16, her German shepherd tied to her with a metal chain, her helmet, her large slung khakis?
An elderly man, hardly able to walk, drags himself along the side line, supported by two relatives. He can hardly cross the distance from the checkpoint to the taxi park, stopping to rest every few yards, one of his eyes bandaged.
A vehicle carrying lambs - purchased by a Nablus resident from a Beita village resident - is not allowed passage. He holds no special permit. What will the man do with the lambs? His own vehicle is waiting on the other side of the Checkpoint, not allowed to exit Nablus. Since even the DCO rep. cannot help, the lambs are taken off the vehicle and led on the road to the other side of the CP. "Wait! I haven't given you permission!" the soldier yells from his checking post.
A new line crosses the concrete compound at Huwwara CP: THE RED LINE. Before we leave for Beit Furik a sergeant arrives and demands we stand behind it only. The red line is a meter and a half further back from the former white line and has been drawn, so says the soldier, by the commander. A short argument over our rights and theirs, military or civilian area etc., ended with nothing. The sergeant says he will summon the commander to talk to us, but that does not happen.
Upon our return from Beit Furik at 17:15, the young men still fill the shed, reporting over two hours waiting in line. They exit the turnstiles frozen, coat and belt in hand. "The leaders only talk, they don't do a thing" they hiss crossly.
17:45 It is so cold that fear of hypothermia chases us into Nadim's warm car and we leave.
Beit Furik Checkpoint
15:40 - 17:10
It is extremely cold at Beit Furik. No detainees, hardly any pedestrians and the few who arrive pass rapidly. Belongings are inspected on the ground at the feet of the soldier who stands behind the ID checking post, until their owners pick them up and speed away from the cold.
Few vehicles waiting in line, about ten minutes each. This morning, say the drivers, they had to wait an hour and a half.