Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 18.2.08, Afternoon
Opposite Ariel the work on the road is continuing. There are no guards to be seen at the hitching post and there are people there. At Marda the western gate is closed with curled barbed wire and the east is open. At Zeita the road is still blocked. At Zaatra there are 4 cars and the checking is swift and efficient. We did not stop.
13.50 Beit Furik.
A cold wind and heavy clouds. We spoke to the coffee seller at the stop car park where he has made a stand out of nylon coverings so as to protect himself and others from the cold wind and he is worried that the soldiers will make him take it down. People say that today the checkpoint opened earlier at about 4.30. At the checkpoint itself is one car. The soldiers are indifferent to our presence but the commander asks us politely to stand further away behind the white line. From there we can see about 6 cars waiting to leave Nablus. But for some reason neither cars nor pedestrians are passed through. People entering Nablus are told to come in one by one or at least to take off their coats and turn around and only then to go up to the army police checking area.
14.10 Pedestrians start to go through and a woman complains bitterly that she had waited for two hours. A young couple, the woman pregnant, say they have waited an hour.
At 14.20 cars start to go through and we are told that the change in shift caused the delay. We phoned the centre and complained to Gali who said that when the shift changes the checkpoint is closed for an hour to an hour and a half. The car at the entrance is still waiting. We asked the commander about the delay and he said cars were coming through according to turn and because there had been a long line from Nablus he had given them preference. But he let the car which had already been waiting for 40 minutes go through. A man came though asking if this is how it would also be and saying we should pressure the prime minister to make peace.
14.20 Awarta. 12 trucks waiting at the entrance but the passage was fast and efficient.
At the parking lot a man asked what was happening today as if the " usual" was not sufficiently humiliating and annoying. The commander, a second lieutenant met us at the entrance to Nablus where he was standing with 5 people. Next to the turnstiles was an iron checkpoint and a soldier checking those entering Nablus. He is pleasant and says he has missed us but asks us not to photograph today. The soldiers are fixing a tarpaulin at the side of one of the fences probably to protect themselves from the rain but the wind prevents them from doing this. The commander says that there are detainees who are waiting for the blue police and otherwise things are quiet.
Two men come up to us, one of whom speaks good Hebrew and is translating for the other. Yusef from Hawarra. His house and that of his brother which is the biggest in the village stands on the main road. On the night between Sunday and Monday soldiers came into the house breaking the furniture and mixing oil with the flour, broke windows and damaged their car and went beserk. They would not speak to the people. We passed on the complain to Yesh Din and made a contact between Yusef and Azmi who is the investigator of Yesh Din.
There is a dog trainer who is not checking and is playing with the dog who has his mouth covered. Some minutes later she gets to work.
The young men say they wait two hours in line but the fast line with R. from the DCO passes quickly.
A regimental policeman asks us where we are from and when we say machomwatch he says why. This hurts me because it shows that there are people who think that all our work here and everything that we do is meaningless. We tried to explain that is about about basic human rights and not about the behavior of the soldiers themselves but it turns out that he believes that everything belongs to us so there was no point in going on.
Two men sign to us to come to them next to the humanitarian line and R. goes up and speak to them and they leave . He tells us that they had been waiting for the blue police who had not come and therefore he had freed them. He says that there is segregation and many alerts.
6 cars. Tomer is there and send them through and from the west only three. No delays. The soldier are polite to us today and not hostile but there is a heavy feeling because of the severity of the past days.