Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 14.1.08, Morning

Observers: 
Moria F., Micki F. (reporting)
Jan-14-2008
|
Morning

Translation: Rachel B.

 

7:55 AM:

As we go past the Barkan Industrial Zone we look towards the blockade.  The gate was open. The impression we got is that the blockade there has been removed, but we didn't have time to investigate this fully since we had gotten a late start.

8:05 AM

We went past Marda where all the gatesinfo-icon through which the farmers go to their fields on foot were closed with iron chains.  Only the main entrance - across from the village of Zeita - was open.  The exit to Road #5 from Zeita is still blocked with cement blocks.

Za'atra Junction: 8:15 AM

There are 5 cars approaching from the west. The time it takes to be cheeked through is under one minute. From the direction of Nablus there are 8 cars.  Here, too, the checking proceeds fast.

Huwwara: 8:30 AM

The curfew was lifted last night and according to N., the people on last night's shift did some shopping in the village.

Beit Furik: 8:40 AM

There are 12 cars in the parking lot.  We checked how long it takes cars to go through.  Compared to previous weeks there has been an improvement - it takes under a minute for a car going into Nablus.  However, cars coming out of Nablus that are on their way back to Beit Furik take more than 5 minutes to be checked through.. Since there are not 2 lines for checking cars, the total wait from arrival at he parking lot till the car passes the checkpoint is about an hour.   

9:15AM:

A car from the District Coordinating Office (D.C.O.) arrived. A. got off to give the soldiers instructions on how to process the cars through the checkpoint faster.  During this time, processing cars came to a halt for 10 minutes, but after the instructions were given the pace picked up.

E. told us that they are going around to all the checkpoints, but have had to give these instructions especially at this one.  In response to our question about why there are not 2 lines for processing cars in tandem, he tells us that he does not have enough soldiers to do that.  Furthermore, the D.C.O. allocates one of its staff to each checkpoint for a half a day and apparently at this checkpoint, the staff person is due for the afternoons shift.

Pedestrians went though quickly and no one was detained.

Awarta 9:30 AM

There is a line of about 30 cars from the direction of Nablus.  A Jeep from the D.C.O. is at the site and, evidently, from the moment it arrived the soldiers have been processing cars through quickly - no more than a 2 minute inspection per car.  R. from Beit Furik explains that the long line is due to the fact that in the past 3 weeks trucks have been permitted to exit Nablus only thorough Awarta.   Only trucks with a special permit from the D.C.O. at Irtach can pass through Beit Ibba.  At Beit Ibba, he says, only cars and trucks with "humanitarian cargo" - milk, medicine and meat- can pass through.

Huwwara Checkpoint 10:00 AM

In the parking lot the peddlers complain that they were told to close their stalls in the morning.  It turns out that the D.C.O. decided to do a major clean-up and E. announced to the people there that until the whole area is clean they will not be allowed to sell their wares.  They were instructed to do this {the clean-up} within two hours. After an hour and a half we saw a few of the peddlers begin to open their stalls and sell.  A proper stall - like the one the settlers have at Za'tara - is, of course, not permitted to them.  Of course, there are no restrooms in the parking lot which serves dozens of passengers - {no matter}, as long as there is a "clean-up operation..."

There are almost no cars going out. Those that do come through are checked in 5 minutes.

There are about 50 pedestrians waiting in line.  It's not clear to us why the processing is so slow when there are so many people waiting.  Each person spends about 20 minutes at the checkpoint -from his arrival to departure.   There is a separate, faster line for women and the elderly. Maybe this is dependent on the expertise of the soldiers and the quality of the commander of the checkpoint.

A man carrying a car battery tried to pass through the checkpoint. Instead of asking him to put the battery through the scanner, the soldiers caledl the checkpoint commander and only then, when he instructed them to put the battery through the scanner, was this done  and the man went through. Throughout this whole time - about 10 minutes- people were waiting in line until the soldiers were freed up to check them through.

A boy under the age of 15 goes through without his parents. He has a birth certificate and a copy of his parents' ID cards.  The woman military police officer explains to the soldiers that this is the way to verify that he is, indeed, his parents' child and that it is not always possible for parents to accompany their children since they may be working or busy with other things. It turns out, then, that there are some leniencies in processing children through, or perhaps it's just the common sense of this particular officer.

10:30 AM

{We meet a detainee} who has been detained for a half hour.  We manage to talk to him and get his identifying information.  He told us that he is detained every time he goes through this checkpoint.  We passed along his information to Asaf from the Human Rights organization to follow up on.

Marda: 11:00 AM

We got a message from Tami C. that some soldiers had gone into the village of Marda and that the villagers are complaining about the closureinfo-icon of the exits from the village.  This makes it impossible to get to the fields on the other side of Road #5 in a reasonable amount of time. As we have seen, the exits are blocked so the farmers cannot get to t their fields to work.  When we arrived at the entrance to the village, the people there said that the soldiers had just left and, indeed, we saw several army Jeeps gathered near an isolated house across the way from the village.  We left it to the afternoon shift to take pictures of the closed gates in order to file a complaint with the D.C.O. and the IDF authorities, since we did not have cameras with us.