Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 21.1.08, Afternoon

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Merav A., Moran Y. and Noa P. (reporting)

Translation: Maureen A.

1:15  4 jeeps and army hummers are near the Kfar Marda gate; we didn't see   any activity that justifies their presence. All the more so, since there is   no gate there whatsoever.

Zeita    Still blocked.

Za'tara  There are no cars whatsoever at the checkpoint. Not from the west, not   inside the checkpoint and not from the north.

13:40 Beit Furik   
  A soldier approaches us and announces that he is closing the checkpoint because of our presence. Merav tries to show the paper signed by the attorney general to him and to the military policewoman who came up right behind him, but she is rejected rudely: "Your papers don't interest me!" "The checkpoint is closed; the people are suffering because of you."

 T., the DCO representative on the spot is helpless in face of the soldiers'  behavior. He tries to convince us to withdraw to behind the white line: "But  he doesn't want to open the checkpoint; what can I do to him?"

 We called R., who said - they will get an order to open up the checkpoint  right away.

 In the meantime, the policewomen are talking to someone over their radio- phone - "We're checking whether you are allowed to stand inside the  checkpoint." One of them threatens to arrest us. "She's a military  policewoman; she has the authority to arrest any citizen she wants, for three  hours." I remind her of the fact that she is a military policewoman and that  her authority is limited to soldiers...

 The minutes pass and the checkpoint is still not open. There's a line forming  from both directions - those going to Nablus and those wanting to leave. One  car is standing on the entry road to Nablus, waiting with us till the end of the  drama.

13:55   Another telephone call to R., who says, they will get an order to open up the checkpoint immediately. It should have been opened up already. Why don't you talk to my representative at the checkpoint?   We explained to him that the representative is helpless against the soldiers...

 Moran goes to talk to those coming from Beit Furik, to find out whether they  would prefer that we back off. The answer is absolutely clear: they prefer to  wait a few minutes and that we stay put.

14:03  An ambulance with blinking lights arrives at the checkpoint. After a   moment of consideration, it is allowed to pass. A line of four more cars   is waiting to pass through towards Beit Furik.

14:10  R., calls us - the complaint regarding the soldiers' behavior is on the   brigade commander's desk; they will be tried in court.

 We left....

14:25  Huwwara

  At the entrance to the checkpoint we meet a man who says - there's a   long line. It is taking a long time to check each one.

 We met A., the DCO Commander - He says there haven't been any  unusual events, only "a new shift, so they are being a little stricter right now."

 Suddenly - shouting - "Who jumped on the fence?? You go through last, did  you hear me?? Go back, get out of here, to the line, I don't care," a soldier is  teaching the Palestinian people manners.

 An old man comes out of the Humanitarian gate and asks me - why are they  shouting? We're human beings and they are human beings, just that they have  guns and we don't... I pick up my pen: this is our weapon.  He answers: Thank  you. More power to you.

 There's a canine unit around.

14:45  An old man, supported by two younger men, collapses near the    entrance for vehicles from Nablus. It turns out that he was released   from the hospital and he is on his way home. The two accompanying   him are his son and his grandson. The problem is that his grandson    looks older that the age that is allowed to go through the checkpoint   without an identity card; they are now waiting for the boy's father to   bring his identity card. Luckily, the father is a taxi driver, so it doesn't   take long till he arrives.

14:55  A woman has fainted. We called A., the DCO, who came    immediately, accompanied by B., the checkpoint commander.    A. immediately calls an ambulance to take her and, in the    meantime, she is led away - supported by four other women - to the   Humanitarian  Point. Yes, yes, there is one, and it is even active. It   seems she is anemic.

15:02  An ambulance reaches the checkpoint.
15:10  The ambulance leaves the checkpoint area in the direction of Nablus.

15:45  A young man is detained. The policewoman shouts to the checkpoint   commander: We have a Hamas groupie here. We called A., the   DCO, to check out the meaning of the issue. So - really - it seems that   the young man has "forbidden" pictures in his cell phone. The young   man disappears from our sight and we are not able to find out what   happened to him.

 A bus - checked out carefully by the canine unit (there was a change of shifts  while we were there), the time frame for the check  - five minutes. The  policewoman arrives with a pile of identity cards and gives them to the  checkpoint commander, who simply puts them aside, since he is busy at the  moment. The identity cards are returned, without being checked.

16:30  Za'tara

  Three cars from the north; they go through quickly.
  There's no line at all from the west.