Nablus

Jul-5-2003
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Summary: No shade for 100 people
waiting hours. Huge queues trying to leave Nablus (the most
closed-off town in the Occupied Territories), refused by a strict
rule: No men 16-40. No violence at the north checkpoint but
virtually no success helping people through.

08.15 am. A man asked for help. His son, a 23-year old university
computer engineering student, left Nablus last Monday to go to
Ramallah to register for the next academic year. He was refused
exit at Huwwara but went round, by another road, where the IDF
picked him up and put him in jail. The father, a university
professor himself at Al Najjah University in Nablus, tried to
locate him until finally told he's in the Huwwara army base. What
can we do to help? Continuing north, I found people waiting since
6.00 am. Most men not allowed through, and a queue of 100 men,
women, children, babies. Checking was laborious, snail-like. By
10am, over 40 vehicles were waiting. Most soldiers reasonable, but
working to rule. One expressed thanks for asking his senior to make
life easier for people. A pharmacist showed a work card, issued by
computer. The sergeant, L, told him he could get 40 of those cards,
any day of the week, and didn't accept the card. The gentle man
gave up. The army in its wisdom took the water container away,
allegedly for refilling. On the south checkpoint were two
detaineesinfo-icon, one blindfolded, the other deeply offended by what a
soldier said he wanted to do to his two-year old daughter. That
soldier said he'd lost a friend in a bus attack. Finally, the
detainee was released; his complaints about the too tight handcuffs
were true, it took G. 10 minutes to extricate him, he himself was
shocked at how tight it was. Meanwhile, a soldier was screaming at
the crowd, shaking the fence into them, furious they weren't
letting a woman with a day-old babyinfo-icon go past easily. He likened the
crowd to animalsinfo-icon because of their attitude towards the woman. We
left at 11.30.

A horrible day at Huwwara. Nothing was achieved. Some interesting
conversations with people on line about peace, which we all had no
problem agreeing on.