Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sat 15.12.07, Afternoon
Translation: Rachel B.S.
Today is no different than any other day. We meet with the men and women of the Palestinian people wasting and losing their lives at the checkpoint for endless and countless hours and days. They are standing there, mourning the loss of their time and dignity. The men are crowded up on one side behind the turnstiles, waiting for their turn to go through the humiliation of stripping, searching and questioning, while the other halves of their family, the women and children, who have gone through a shorter line, are waiting for the men to come out and join them to go home. The women's eyes are searching for the familiar hair or color of a piece of clothing, sometimes trying to ask on the cell-phone - how long do you think you will take. Today they have stood for an hour - hour and a half, less than they do some other days, when they might be standing for two or three hours.
It's the Saturday just before the holiday of Eid al Adha, that begins this coming Wednesday. Many people return from Nablus with the clothes or food for which they went shopping, many are sent to the x-ray machine, definitely an extra burden.
The students have just finished the semester, to begin their one month vacation this week.
At two-thirty pm, we hear a soldier shouting and running towards the one-way turnstile through which one passes towards Nablus. The soldier is dragging a man through the turnstile, managing to squeeze him in opposite the direction in which it turns. He shouts that this man was trying to bypass the line. What we could see, was the soldier pulling a man from the other side of the turnstile by force, until he managed to squeeze him through in the opposite direction. The man was taken to the detainees cage as if he was a major villain. This vicious lie and action got support from the other soldiers. It was so terribly easy. Our protests did not help at all, and as a matter of a fact, we were unable to see the man in the cage any more.
We left the place after about an hour and a half, and we don't know what became of him afterwards. We also don't know what became of another detainee who was put in the cage because his name was on the list, and we heard from him that he had just been released from administrative arrest recently. The soldiers told us this man was wanted. The MP officer repeated the mantra that the IDs are being checked, it will take as long as necessary, and release will or will not take place in accordance with the results.
During that time a young man who reached his turn to be checked had to untie a neatly done knot of a plastic bag, in which there were neatly arranged some books and notebooks and a wrapped gift. The bag got torn during the process, and the man came out humiliated and defeated, with a torn plastic bag in his hands, its contents scattered, and his belt and half of his jacket hanging over the whole pile. His face did not show what he was feeling, and the bag was bearing the entire testimony.
There were some peddlers in the full parking lot, selling soft drinks, bread, and some toys, among them were our friends M. and his brother, and the little boy M., at the corner, selling candy cones. A little boy earns bread for his family like a big merchant. Selling each bag for a low price, but with a big profit. We only hope that the army does not chase him away. Indeed lately the army doesn't chase away or abuse the peddlers. Authority is exercised in a different way. Last Thursday the peddlers and the cars were all chased out of the parking lot and told they would be allowed back after they clean up the area. Otherwise the peddlers would not be allowed to sell their stuff, because it messes up the place, and the cars will be kept from going on if there is garbage at the side. The peddlers say that no one argued, as there was no point, it doesn't matter what is inside the mind of that soldier or the purpose of this forced project, everybody just pitched in and cleaned up the place together.