Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 12.3.08, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
Summary: the deceptive hypocrisy of the occupation: remove (?) a roadblock and reinforce forces; explanatory signs are put up, badges with names are worn and curfews are used as collective punishment, handcuffs and blindfolds are used for ‘psychological' purposes.
At the entrance to the village a number of people and cars are present. A military jeep is parked across the road and bars access. Among the people are teachers from Jemayn who teach in Marda, as well as the owner of a marble factory who lives outside the village.
This is the second day running that people are not allowed into Marda during the morning. The soldiers say that it is because the children in the village throw stones. The people waiting say that the army knows who the children throwing stones are and because of a few children it is not necessary to close up a whole village and prevent people from working.
At the ‘humanitarian centre' N., tells us that it is known that there is a strike today and the teachers ‘should know' not to come, however, he will see what he can find out. One of the teachers says that the students are striking but the teachers have to go to school.
Meanwhile, (7:35 a.m.) a border police jeep arrives sounding its siren and the soldiers talk with each other. The border police jeep enters the village and climbs up the road while giving out announcements on its loudspeaker. The soldiers put up the iron barrier and one of the teachers translates into Hebrew the announcement of a curfew which was given out in Arabic.
We did not quite understand how collective punishment including closing schools in the village can bring about the cessation of stone throwing.
Another call to the ‘humanitarian centre' reveals that the curfew will be over at 10:00 a.m. This happened yesterday too, the people who were trying to get to their jobs in the village and who were unable to do so told us.
We left after exchanging telephone numbers with the factory owner.
There are no cars from the west.
There is a bus in the car park whose passengers have been taken off and which is surrounded by a few soldiers. It appears that there was also a detainee, a young man leaning on a concrete block. Since he was talking on the phone and seemed to have been released we did not think it worth interfering.
The cafeteria, which has been set up here, is already open.
From the north there are 10 cars.
A soldier came over to us and asked us not to get too close to the positions.
We asked him if there are any limitations/separation and he replied in the negative.
The snap, permanent, roadblock on Road 57, between Huwwara village and Huwwara roadblock, is being taken down.
Two women from the EAPPI organisation are already at the roadblock. They told us that up to now nothing in particular is happening.
3 checkpoints are functioning.
The x-ray machine is present.
The dog handler is present.
A signpost has been put up on the traffic island leading to the roadblock: WAITING POINT in three languages. The border police, here as at the other roadblocks, wear badges with their names on in three languages.
About 30 people are in the pedestrian queue. We measured their crossing time at 5 minutes per person.
A car wishing to leave Nablus goes through the process of arrival, waiting in the queue, approaching the roadblock, passengers alighting, passengers standing at a distance from the soldiers while lifting their jackets and patting their chests to show they have nothing under their shirts, the sniffer dog checking the car climbing on the seats, getting off, sniffing the engine area, under the car, in the boot; after the dog inspection, wiping down the seats and shaking the back rest. The amount of time taken until the car is able to go on its way: 15 minutes.
Today an ‘efficiency prize' can be given to the roadblock commander, 2nd lieutenant B. Two cars exiting are inspected at the same time!! (A rare occurrence during the Wednesday morning shift.)
We left Huwwara.
One of the drivers notes that, "today things are good at the roadblock". There are no jams. He tells us that the roadblock opened at 10.
On approaching the roadblock we saw a soldier putting someone into the cell. The man's hands were cuffed and his eyes covered with a flannel blindfold. The sergeant and an additional soldier explain that the man comes to the roadblock daily. He has no I.D. card. Once, twice they permitted him to cross. Each day he was told to bring his I.D. card. He agreed but didn't bring it. Today they decided to put an end to it and refused him permission to cross. He was not prepared to go and ‘caused a commotion'. So - he is cuffed and blindfolded - ‘it's psychological' they explain. He will spend some time in the cell and then he'll be allowed to go back to Beit Furiq.
We call the ‘humanitarian centre'. We report to G., at the ‘centre'. She will investigate. Meanwhile the sergeant leads the man to the toilets. He releases his hands, takes off the blindfold. When they return to the cell, the man remains free.
The man is released.
On our way back to the car we meet him. It turns out that the man lived in Jordan and applied for an I.D. card. The paper he showed the soldiers certifies that he has made an application, but they dismiss him as someone with ‘just a piece of paper'.
From the north - 7 cars.
There are a number of dog handlers, military vehicles, a lot of soldiers in the area and the junction is guarded from all directions. Vehicle inspections are carried out on cars going north too.
We saw that the barrier closing Marda has been removed. A telephone call to the owner of the marble factory revealed that the curfew was also removed at 10:35 a.m.