Awarta, Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Za'tara (Tapuah), Fri 8.2.08, Morning

Observers: 
Nili F., Michal V., Elah L. (guest), Ofra T. (Reporting)
Feb-8-2008
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Morning

 Translation: Rachel B.

Repotting to the attention of the Attorney General: The checkpoint commander at Awarta held up the traffic of those entering Nablus until we depart from the general area of the checkpoint.

8:45 AM: Za'tara

There are 4 cars approaching from the west and none going north to south.


Burin-Yitzhar Junction:
{The checkpoint} is not manned.


Beit Furik:
the checkpoint is empty: no cars and no pedestrians.

9:10 AM Awarta

We see a lot of trucks waiting at a bit of a distance from the checkpoint on the Nablus side.  An unusual situation for Fridays: the checkpoint is manned by only two soldiers. We approach the commander, a first sergeant, and ask for an explanation of what's happening.  He immediately demands that we move away from the checkpoint area (this is the first time that we encounter an aggressive soldier at the Awarta checkpoint).  When we explain to him that he has no right to order us away from the checkpoint (as was determined by the Attorney General), he threatens us that he will not allow anyone to go through the checkpoint - and indeed this is what he does.  "And you can call the whole world and its sister {to complain}" {he says.}.  The woman at the Humanitarian Center (who is more the checkpoint commander's "sister" than my own) explains to us that the traffic into Nablus from Awarta is totally halted until 12 noon, for "security reasons" (which will, evidently, end at 12), and that, therefore, there is absolutely nothing to the commander's threat. 

Meanwhile, there are already 4 trucks waiting to enter the checkpoint and we inquire if they are aware that there will be no traffic let through till 12.  But one of the drivers asks another, whose truck has an orange {Israeli} license plate and who speaks Hebrew, to tell us that the checkpoint commander has said that until we get the hell out of there they won't be allowed to go through. 
In order to avoid causing a delay {of the traffic} we get into our car and drive off. 
Immediately, the commander calls the Palestinian cars and lets them go through one after the other!! 
We call the Humanitarian Center again.  Who is tricking whom?  The woman at the Center is very surprised to hear that the commander is letting cars through. "There is a security alert!" {She says}. She will immediately get on it to make sure that cars are not allowed go through.  Again, we managed to {inadvertently} do harm to the Palestinians' well being. 
A phone cal to the District Coordinating Office: the soldier there politely confirms: yes, the soldiers are forbidden to stop traffic at the checkpoint because of our presence, but there are all kinds of situations and at certain checkpoints we are forbidden to stand in given areas.  It varies from checkpoint to checkpoint, she cannot give us precise information, she is not the Attorney General, and , besides, there is a security alert ("until 12") and it is forbidden to go from Awarta towards Nablus.

A photo of the offending commander  is attached (taken from a distance).