E.T., A.G., D.B.
There was an announcement in the morning of
easing of restrictions for Palestinians". (why
"further"? what was the previous easing?)
After yesterday's situation I decided to phone Munir,
the Deputy Battalion commander, and inform him that
i.d. cards had been thrown away (destroyed?), that
soldiers had refused to talk to us, and that the
tank had been empty. Munir referred me to Avi at the
Regional Command (Matak), who said he would
immediately make sure there was water. (In fact, he
didn't.) He was concerned about the destruction of
i.d.'s and asked me to show Ofer the photos. He
explained that the soldiers have been ordered not to
talk to us because our requests are very confusing
them, and we should speak to the commander.
the commander told me yesterday that they don't talk
to us because one of us "was impolite to me
and insulted me.") He said that today the army
posted an older soldier, a major, named Ofer, and we
should speak to him about all matters.
13:20, Tapuah Junction: light traffic, moving freely.
Izhar Junction: no checkpoint, only 4 soldiers at the
junction with weapons drawn, who do not stop traffic.
S. Huwarra: There are several dozen vehicles waiting.
A man approached us. He is from Nablus and they
let him through. Most people were moving through. The
soldier wasn't willing to talk to us except to tell
to stay at the side of the road.
N. Huwarra: We decided to approach Ofer and ask for
his help. Traffic is light. Ofer is checking i.d.'s
calmly and in a businesslike way. He doesn't make
difficulties. On the whole the atmosphere is calm
except one soldier who shouts once in a while. He
shows off his strength, then turns to his friends and
laughs. Ofer is polite to us, said he'd speak with us
later when he was free--but that didn't happen.
At 14:00 a lot of people arrive. It's a mess. The
soldier is yelling constantly, pushing people,
cursing. The women at the side of the hill slide down
because of him. It is crowded and everyone is tense.
The loud soldier yells that he'll use tear gas, runs
and gets one and waves it in the air. Some of the
people try to run away, some are indifferent. We run
to him and he says to us "Don't worry, I won't
it." (This happens again later with another
Ofer is an island of sanity and calm in a huge mess.
He responds to all our requests but doesn't try to
keep the soldiers under control. The line keeps
moving and by 16:00 there are few people. Noam, a
sargant and apparently the commander of the
checkpoint, is constantly in power struggles with the
people. For half an hour he tried futilely to get
people into neat lines and didn't listen to our
requests to let the humanitarian through (like a
with a baby with a cast who just got out of
He said "I don't determine who's a humanitarian
and nobody's going to tell me what to do."
The water tank is empty. He notified Ofer and phoned
Yuval from the Humanitarian Office, who promised, as
he did yesterday, to make sure there would be water.
15:00 Beit Furiq: There is no traffic toward Nablus
Coming out there is a line of 30 vehicles, moving.
Yuval the commander won't let us into the checkpoint
to observe. We inform him this is our task and we
can't see anything from outside, and we went in. He
didn't send us away but stopped talking to us. One
detainee is sitting on the side. When he got there a
soldier recognized him as someone who tried to go
around the checkpoint a month ago (!) and almost ran
over a soldier. (The Palestinian admits he tried to
around but says he saw no soldier--it was night
The soldier hit him in the face with the stock of his
gun. When we got there he had blood on his hands and
shirt and his eye was blackening. He doesn't want to
lodge a complaint, he just wants to go home to Beit
Furiq. I spoke to Amiti, an officer at Civil
Adminstration, and he admitted that the man was
("Not when I was there, I wouldn't have allowed
that.") He spoke to the detainee and then to the
commander. The officer was leaving and promised the
man would be released; we left but the next day we
phoned and he said he was released half an hour
Izhar Junction, on the way back we saw they had
restored the checkpoint and the women's tent. There
were a few pedestrians and 20 vehicles that weren't
moving. When we pretended to phone the Matak the line
began to move. The wait was one hour. Suddenly a
soldier ran toward a car at the end of the line,
firing in the air above the heads of some pedestians.
The car was trying to turn around and go back.
Apparently he accepted their explanation because he
let them go.
Tapuah Junction 17:00. A line of 7 cars + 20
pedestrians. A wait of 20 minutes for the cars, more
for the pedestrians.