Nablus

Jun-19-2003
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There are some changes in the
checkpoint. The soldiers shouted their orders through a megaphone;
in the "waiting zone" a couple of fences had been put up
to separate the area into 3 lines: one for women, one for men, and,
in the middle, for people coming from the Nablus direction; in the
open area leading to the "waiting zone" an army water
tank had been placed. Lines were moving slowly but steadily; it
seems that on seeing us soldiers made an effort to improve the
pace. Soldiers were rude to the Palestinians but not more than
usual. We heard expressions such as: "Hallo, don't lean on the
fence, move away, what are you?? Animalsinfo-icon?!" And later, after
some induced self-reflection, "Yes, they are animals, what can
we do". All women were allowed through; and about 80-85%
percent of the men, too. Among the men who were not permitted to
pass was an old man from a small village near Ramallah, carrying
with him a part of his tractor engine that he hoped to fix in
Nablus, the only place in the West Bank this part could be fixed.
9:30: Southbound car lanes are closed to any movement, including
that of settlers. Some of the latter break through the barriers,
soldiers chase them, a commotion, almost a fight, is starting
between settlers and soldiers. Later we learnt this was connected
to the dismantling of a "Yitzhar outpost". For a while
the checkpoint was completely closed to any Palestinian passage,
and more and more people heading to Nablus gathered in the area. A
very large crowd of waiting people was building up. But then, as
"Yitzhar" evacuation matters heated up, the DCO decided
to prevent any potential friction between settlers and Palestinians
at the checkpoint. They OPENED the checkpoint and let people
through, without checking. Anybody who wished to pass could do so.
People were rushed by soldiers, even herded, in order to clear the
checkpoint area from Palestinians as fast as possible. On the other
side of the checkpoint, in the Nablus-Huwwara direction, people
were blocked from passing altogether. They were sent home, some
with the encouragement of two live shots in the air. (No one was
hurt).