Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Fri 7.3.08, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
There were 7 cars at the junction.
Beit Furiq Junction
There were 9 cars at the junction. The driver of the first car told us that he had been waiting for two hours.
A Palestinian, in his seventies, riding on a small donkey, approached the roadblock. A military policewoman told him haughtily that the next time he should wait at a distance from the roadblock until he is told to approach.
When the soldiers noticed us one of them said to his colleagues: "I will deal with them", he came over to us and asked us to stand on the other side of the white line. He added that if we don't move away the soldiers would close the roadblock. We said that is illegal. The soldier asserted that it is legal and instructed the soldiers not to let any Palestinian cross until we move.
We contacted Naomi Lalo and asked her to get in touch with a legal advisor, Naomi Lalo asked us to stay where we were until she got hold of legal advice.
Meanwhile a soldier of Russian origin called Dima told us that, since we do not have Palestinian identity cards, we should move behind the concrete blocks which would shield us in case of gun fire. We asked who the roadblock commander is and the soldiers told us that there is no commander there, but they will not let any cars through until we move. Dima said that ‘to all intents and purposes' he is the roadblock commander.
The roadblock opened. The driver who had been waiting for two hours was permitted to cross.
Naomi Lalo told us that she spoke to the Brigade C.O. who promised to deal with the matter and instructed us to stand by the white line behind the concrete blocks.
After a few minutes the soldiers closed the roadblock again claiming that the Division C.O.had order the closure of the roadblock.
One of the Palestinians came over to us and requested that we leave because the roadblock was closed because of us. The Palestinian who waited for two hours and who was arrested a few minutes after he had been given permission to cross also came back and asked us to move. He told us that his children are waiting for him. Another Palestinian came over and told us angrily, "get away from here".
We contacted Naomi Lalo again and she asked us to wait.
We moved away and stood by the concrete blocks and the soldiers started to allow cars to cross. Although there were six soldiers at the roadblock they worked very slowly, chatted between themselves, laughed, opened only one crossing lane and spoke haughtily and arrogantly to the Palestinians. Dima was particularly unpleasant.
We reported to the Brigade operation room and spoke to a soldier by the name of Einat who promised to check out the issue.
The soldiers let pedestrians through but stopped the cars. We contacted the DCO and spoke to Shadi, the officer of the day. Shadi claimed that the soldiers are not allowed to stop inspections even if we are around, but said that he does not have anyone to send there. The soldier in the watchtower suddenly shouted out: "Let me out of here, I am boiling".
The rate speeded up.
Two soldiers, one of them a major, arrived in a Hammer jeep. The officer spoke to the soldiers and inspected their uniforms. We approached and I told him about the soldiers' behaviour. When we moved away I saw the major talking to the soldiers.
Another three soldiers arrived.
There were no detainees. There was no queue. Those crossing were asked to take of their belts.
The officer who had responsibility for the roadblock, with the rank of captain, told us that there is no separation or any particular limitations.