Beit Furik, Huwwara, Sat 26.1.08, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
It is very cold and, apart from us, there is almost no one on the Jerusalem roads. And, in truth, who cares that somewhere over there, in the heart of the occupied territories, people aren't permitted to live!
We decided to go to Beit Furiq first this time because of the reports from there during the past few days. On our arrival we counted 17 cars in the queue, and on questioning the drivers we found out that the crossing time is about two hours. We contacted the Humanitarian Centre and also approached a soldier at the roadblock. The pace was speeded up and, after half an hour or so, the queue of cars was altogether dispersed.
The average time for a car to cross from now on, until we left, was about 10 minutes. The pedestrians crossed continuously. Pedestrians arrived in waves, according to the arrival of taxis from Beit Furiq. Some of the women were dressed festively - on their way to a wedding in nearby Beit Dejan. There were lots of children, all of them well wrapped up against the freezing cold.
The roadblock is comparatively clear - at a rough guess there were some 150 men and women. The average crossing took about 20 minutes. A DCO representative was present, however, his efficiency was doubtful. The tricky bottleneck was at the crossing from Nablus southwards. From the apartheid road ‘madison' we saw a bus which was already in the queue. It took an hour and a half to cross. We tried to draw the attention of the roadblock commander to it and he explained: "We don't have enough staff". A bus driver tried to prevent the dog handler's inspection but the Israeli hero was not prepared to give in. The queue of cars from Nablus looked endless and did not get shorter during our stay. There were few pedestrians at the entrance to Nablus and the cars crossed quickly to the north. The car park was chock-a-block and business was booming - here too practicality conquers all.