Nablus

Nov-8-2003
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Beit Furiq and Huwarrah, 0800 to 1000.
. Watchers, H. B., V.S., N.L., and D.G.

An unbelievably quiet, incident-free watch. At Beit Furiq there
were two orderly separate lines for men and women, about twenty or
thirty people in each.. Four soldiers manned the check-point , two
scanning the surroundings and two checking papers and bags,
although when we arrived only one was present and the queue move so
painfully slowly that the average wait was about twenty-five
minutes. When the second solider returned, both lines moved much
faster.

Seren Eli, who was in charge, spoke fluent, literary Arabic and had
a positive manner. He waved people to move forward from the line to
show their papers and present their bags and never raised his
voice.

The only slight problem we encountered was raised by three school
teachers, all with full documentation, who seemed to believe that
they would not be allowed through. Vivi took their documents and
spoke to Eli who said that all they had to do was stand in line and
take their turn. As they were already late for school, none of them
seemed to want to do this as there has apparently sometimes been a
special line for teachers. When we left, they had gone into the
queue, but had not, as we suggested, asked those at the head of the
line to cede them their places.

At Huwarrah, we split into two groups, Hanna and Dvorah taking the
north end. Later, Vivi and Nurit reported that the south end had
been completely uneventful.

As we approached we stopped two young women to ask whether there
had been any special difficulties today. They said they had waited
for over three hours, since six in the morning. Nothing we saw at
Huwarrah bore this out.

The two were very angry: Naela, who spoke better English, told us
she came to Huwarrah check-point daily en route to visit her
16-year-old brother hospitalized after being shot by the
"Israeli Jews". She was thunderstruck when she learned we
were Israelis, but by no means convinced of our legitimacy. She
wanted to know where Hanna's parents had been born. Germany, she
was told, but Hanna was born in this country. That just did not
count. "My parents, and my grandparents and so on back for
ever, were all born in this country. This is our country, ours. Do
you hear ! Ours, not yours!"

At the check-point itself, the tone was set by a volunteer reserve
officer, Rav Seren Ofer-- "Veteran Machsomwatch women know me
from Qalandiya," he told us. And indeed Nurit did remember him
with gratitude. Despite the rather aggressive behaviour of Samal
Rishon Teddy, the official duty commander of the check-point, the
soldiers there deferred to Ofer and he invariably sorted out the
admittedly few problems in the best manner possible. Even doubtful
cases went through after he had investigated and weighed the
issues, quietly and calmly.

Some further comments-- as we stood watching, a toddler tripped
over and fell against a metal post wrapped around with barbed wire.
The child set up a howl of pain and fear: " Please note: that
wasn't our fault!" one of the soldiers called to us,
semi-aggressively, semi=-appealingly.

Two young ISM members now working"in Balata came through.
Hanna asked them what exactly they were doing there, how were they
helping the Palestinians in the refugee camp. They were both vague
in the extreme, and seemingly had next to no knowledge of the local
scene…..

And finally: despite repeated requests, there is still no drinking
water available. "What do they need it for, it's Ramadan,
anyway!" one of the soldiers replied cynically.
DG