Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 9.1.08, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
There is no queue from the west; but from the north there are at least 70 vehicles. A huge jam even though there are three checking lanes. We immediately contacted the Centre and they promised to send a representative. It is the first morning of the US President's visit. Hold-ups are expected, particularly in the direction of Ramallah - Jerusalem.
A bus waits in the car park for documents to be checked. Its passengers are warned to stay in the bus and not to get off even for a cigarette. After about a quarter of an hour the humiliating ceremony of returning documents takes place and the bus goes on its way.
The roadblock at the Borin/Yitzhar Junction is not staffed.
The number of those crossing into Nablus is small, even less in the opposite direction. Only one position is open for men and another for the elderly, women and children.
There are ten cars waiting in the car park above the roadblock. The inspection is very slow. The drivers, particularly those leaving Nablus, undergo a physical inspection from head to toe opposite the checkpoint and in full view of a mixed audience of men and women standing around/crossing the roadblock.
The soldiers carry out the inspections non-stop, without a break, but slowly.
On our arrival the pedestrian roadblock is almost completely clear. There is no queue at the car lanes. Both the x-ray machine and the dog handler are working.
An elderly man leaning on a stick and helped by a young man crosses the car lane north towards Nablus with difficulty. The soldiers let them through.
Two young men arrive at the roadblock. The younger one aged 17, from Askar Camp in Nablus, claims that he lost his I.D. card during/after an inspection at the roadblock. We suggest that he approaches the roadblock commander. The soldiers do not find the I.D. card. Since the DCO representative is not present we phone the DCO. A., from the DCO, does not really help and without hesitation recommends that he go to Nablus to take out a new I.D. card. We persist. After a further search of the roadblock we ask politely if he can come to the DCO to get it. Possibly he lost the document while distracted on his way out after the inspection. Perhaps the document will be found. And perhaps he can get another document which will help him. So that he does not have to pay the high price of getting a new one. We left them a telephone number in case they run into problems.
The number of those crossing rises. Two checkpoints are now open.
In fact there were no specific incidents while we were there, neither did the number of vehicles queuing from the north and/or from the south rise.
We left the roadblock. At the Za'atra/Tapuach Junction there isn't a queue at all, neither from the north nor from the south.