Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 11.3.08, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
On our way to Huwwara our first stop today is near Marda. The village is completely closed; there is a group of soldiers and a Hammer jeep by the iron barrier. No one leaves and no one enters. A group of teachers on their way to school give up and turn back. A conversation with Naomi Lalo lets us know that the situation has been known since 7:00 a.m., searches are being carried out in houses and the IDF has taken over one of them.
There are 30 cars from the direction of Huwwara but not even one from the direction of Road 5. (By the way, today there were particularly long queues at the checkpoint on Road 5 at the border with the Green Line.)
When we arrived there was a queue of about 6 cars on the hill, a long queue of pedestrians at the roadblock and only one checkpoint. Miraculously, a moment after we got out of the car, without saying a word to anyone, another crossing lane was opened and the queue of cars disappeared immediately, the crossing was very quick, matter of fact and without being too meddlesome
The roadblock commander 2nd lieutenant P., is smiley and welcoming and the DCO representative, Assam, is down to earth and efficient.
Cars cross quickly; from the direction of Nablus too there do not appear to be any particular hold ups.
Pedestrians cross in a matter of 10 minutes. The queue is quite long but there are three efficient checkpoints. Those crossing, however, are not smiling but neither are they particularly tense.
At some point we notice a man, who didn't look very young to us, being taken to the cell. A Palestinian who left at that moment told us that his I.D. card number is similar to one being sought and the process is repeated every day. We approached the commander who immediately checked it out and within minutes the man was released (not before a ‘heroic' soldier called out "Guard him, don't let him escape"). The DCO representative advised him to go to the Ministry of the Interior in Nablus to try and sort the problem out and, indeed, the man decided not to continue but to return via the turnstile for Nablus. Hopefully he will be successful.
With this problem over a man comes over to us and tells us that his brother is not permitted to cross because he has a Jordanian passport. We called the DCO representative over, his immediate reaction was that the man should be able to cross and, on his own initiative, he went to the commander; the man was called over and immediately permitted to join his brother. Happy end!
On our way back, just after 10:00 a.m., we stopped at Marda again. Nothing had changed. We phoned Naomi Lalo again and just at that moment the barrier was lifted, the closure had ended.
In general, it is a lovely spring day, the sun is smiling, there were no tough incidents in particular and everything is so, so bad!!!