Nablus

May-31-2003
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Participants: Nora O, Michaela R, Ilana
K and Nina M

Summary: The situation was worst than the previous Saturday, but
still better than “Stasik” period. In order to help humanitarian
cases we should take them by ourselves through the crowd - this
arrangement was negotiated with Yair , the DCO
officer.

General description: On our arrival, 8 a.m., we found a huge crowd
of about 500 hundred people. Local people told us that the
checkpoint was open at 6:30. It seems that people expected easier
passage through a checkpoint, because of new political
developments. There was a new arrangement of a pedestrian passage:
it was divided into three narrow lines with barbed wire. It seems
that the only material that Israel Defence Forces find proper to
use for arranging a passage for civilians is a barbed wire. Since
passages are very narrow people’s skin and cloth are constantly
caught by wire thorns. The left passage is for men, the right for
women and the middle passage is for people going in the opposite
direction (those coming from Nablus). On our arrival pedestrians
passage was very slow but increased probably as a result of our
suggestion to allow women to pass quickly. This advice to soldiers
had good results at our previous shifts also. At 9:45 the situation
improved significantly and a waiting time for a passage was shorten
to 15-30 min.

There was an increased (4 times more than previous Saturday) amount
of vehicles trying to pass toward Nablus. Ambulances passed after
reasonable checking. Two of us went to the Northern part of the
checkpoint. The situation there was similar, but lines were
shorter.

Soldiers: Same soldiers we met during our previously shifts: two
very dark soldiers, were much less empathic towards Palestinians
than one week ago - it reminds Maya's R assay “how long it takes to
corrupt an Israeli soldier”, tall Russian speaking soldier from
“Stasik” period who does not want to take any positive attitude
toward civilians, "big-lips" commander in charge of the
checkpoint with very little good will and DCO officer Yair, very
handsome with stylish dark glasses. Yair’s behaviour was
non-uniform. It started with strong hostility toward us with
threatening that we will be arrested. It was disgusting to see how
he points his gun toward a man with a babyinfo-icon in his arms in order to
prevent this man to bypass the big crowd through a road. In spite
of this, we were able to negotiate with him. Soldiers believe in an
exemplary punishment: they kept 3 men, two of them with tied hands
from behind, at the checkpoint and big-lips commander explained us
that it is a good lesson to learn for by passing people. One man
was kept as a punishment for trying to pass few times, one was taxi
driver who tried to run away and one for no reason.

What we did? We called Moked who knew already about a huge crowd
from Palestinians. We called DCO where a female soldier was
extremely rude and to IDF humanitarian centre where Anat was very
emphatic. We managed to persuade Yair to let few men with medical
needs to pass. Our interference in these cases is very important
since men with medical problems, even with proper papers are
prevented from passing. Our big success was returning confiscated
ID to a young man. His ID was confiscated yesterday at 12 noon by a
soldier named Miky who gave a note certifying that he did it. The
man waited till 12 noon to get his ID back without success and he
spent the night staying by the closed checkpoint. We did many calls
to the above mentioned centres and we pressed Yair. At the end ID
was found and returned. We were reported that many students were
detained when tried to bypass the checkpoint somewhere in the
hills. We gave the Moked phone number to a brother of one of a
detained students and we know that Moked tried to help.