Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 23.1.08, Morning
Translation: Ruth F.
There weren't many cars from the west, but from the north there was much pressure even though three posts were active. While we were there things started to move faster. When we left we informed the Humanitarian Center and asked for their help.
7:30- Beit Furik
20 cars were waiting in the parking lot. Most of the cars inspected in the checkpoint were those coming form the villages (east), the inspections were preformed quickly and there were no delays. This was the procedure: The driver had to stop from a distance, raise his shirt and do the "belt dance". Afterwards his ID was inspected and so was his car.
From time to time a soldier from the car lanes turned his eyes to observe the pedestrians and asked those carrying baggage's to stop so that he could check them before they enter the checkpoint. This was the first time we had seen such a procedure there, it prolongs the waiting time of the vehicles.
The number of pedestrians grew, and between the cement bricks a large crowed was formed and the men and women got mixed because the soldier in charge of the order wouldn't let more then one person to pass the turnstile each time.
One person's ID was checked and he was sent back without his ID because he was smoking. The man was in a hurry to get to work, he was angry and started cursing. The soldier at the vehicle inspection post stopped everything so that he could arrest the man for his behavior. We pointed out to him that the checkpoint wasn't a closed territory and therefore smoking isn't forbidden in its grounds. Even some of the soldiers some, and it isn't not their job to educate the civil population and to enforce new Israeli laws on them. The soldier unwillingly agreed, but the man was afraid of moving. Since we asked the soldier allowed the man to enter the line, take his ID and head off.
8:00- A line of cars had accumulated from Nablus. We showed it to the soldiers and they started checking the other side as well. But only on one lane. The first in line was a truck- for some reasons it took 10 minutes to inspect it, during which nothing move. When the pressure was released we headed on.
When we arrived there was only one active post because there weren't many people passing. Later on there were two. The inspection included a physical inspection, the removal of the belt and raising of the shirt. The dog trainer was walking about with her dog, and the x-ray machine was working.
According to D (who was polite and made an effort to answer our calls- the checkpoint under his command is run quietly and efficiently), earlier that morning there was much traffic. When we were there only several vehicles needed to pass.
8:45- Two women and one man who work at the university arrived at the checkpoint. They were performing a survey at their village, and they were heading to the church at Burin for a day of work. The man was arrested because the soldiers calmed his name was in the list, and someone was probably supposed to come and take him, they didn't put him in the cell. The women (one of which was a relative of the man ( were frightened and tried saying that the man had nothing to do with political activities, and that this was the first time he was ever arrested and he passes there everyday, sometimes more then once. After twenty minutes we started calling the Humanitarian Center and T', the DCO's representative. He promised he would help and suggested that the women head off without him. Eventually they did head off, not before exchanging phone numbers with us. In the mean while both the checkpoint commander and the DCO representative tried finding out whether there was any new info about the detainee. Eventually he was released without going through an investigation, but this took an hour and a half, at about the same time we left. We made sure of it while we were on our way and kept asking during the afternoon. We must point out that the DCO representative took care of him the whole time he was detained. The effect of his presence at the checkpoint if felt, and the Palestinians feel like they can approach him. The checkpoint commander and he work together which improves the grim reality at the checkpoint.
10:10 - We left.
When passing through Za'atara/Tapouah we saw several cars waiting, there wasn't much pressure.