Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 12.3.08, Afternoon

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Raheli B.O., Yfat D. (reporting)

Translation Yfat D.


14:30 at the entrance to the OPT there is a strong presence of police and military police who check Israeli cars looking for work seekers on their return from Israel.

At the side of the road, before the turn to Imanuel and Kedumim, are many bulldozers preparing the ground for further construction.

The entrance to the village of Zeita has been blocked by the army, only cars can pass through.

Za'tara CP:
There are 13 cars waiting to be checked from the direction of Huwwara.

A military jeep is present at the water excavation unit which belongs to the settlement of Tapuach.

15:00 Huwwara CP.
The checkpoint is bustling with people- pedestrians, cars, taxis and soldiers- among these a dog trainer and her dog.
I note the soldier checking the cars going into Nables in the act of checking a bus. The bus driver follows the orders conveyed to him by an arrogant pointing and tin tapping of the fingers.
Next to the pedestrian line we meet S. He is a Jordanian journalist and photographer who also holds a Palestinian ID. The soldiers have been detaining him for half an hour because of a necklace he was wearing of a map of Palestine. The soldiers confirm this, but later change their version to claim that he was detained because he tried to pass through the "humanitarian line" using his journalist ID (apparently a greater crime).
The shed is completely packed. The line for women and elderly, which is supposed to be shorter, is also very long.
The young men who delay after they exit the turnstiles in order to put on their shoes and belt, and arrange their belongings are chased away by the CP commander who tells them to get the hell out of there.
The soldiers' behavior towards the Palestinians is rude and obnoxious; most people can be heard to curse under their breath as they exit the turnstiles.
A big truck is parked at the side. The driver tells me that while his truck was being checked the soldier used coarse language, when asked why he was behaving so, the soldier told him to shut up. The man replied- 'you shut up' and so was detained. He tries to find an officer to speak with, ask when he will be allowed to continue, but they are all too busy, and he doesn't wish to seem too demanding.
One of the passengers of a car is sent over to the x- ray machine for packages. Suddenly he begins running back into Nablus, looking back all the time to see if anyone has noticed. When the soldiers finally do notice, they call on some others and run after him guns in hand. All CP traffic is suspended.
The soldiers return empty handed and make the other people in the taxi (3) get out and sit by the side of the road with their heads down, after making them lift up their shirts to show they are unarmed. One of the soldiers wanders over to them, says several words to one and then grabs him by the neck and pulls him to the middle of the road kicking him. He lets go when he realizes that people are watching.
15:30 after 15 minutes the CP opens again for traffic. S., the reporter, was allowed to continue on his way after an hour and a half's delay.
Many men are detained next to the compound while their papers are being checked. One of the soldiers decides they must all go inside the tiny cell, and puts the six of them inside. Among them are a fifty year old man and a sick youth (with medical papers to show). The mother of one of the youths arrives and attempts to ask the commander when the boy will be released. He tells her to say goodbye to her son and then go back home, it's a waste of time. However the persistent mother waits. Her son is released 45 minutes later.
The patient in the cell calls out to the soldiers, he cannot stand on his feet any longer. The soldiers allow him to leave but send him back to Nablus when instead he needs to arrive at his parents house to rest.
The shed is still packed with people.
The dog trainer amuses herself and colleagues with the dog, while two meters away still sit the three men from the taxi, their heads bowed. It's getting cold.

Taxi drivers complain about the dog, saying they sometimes prefer a long bypass so as not to let the dog inside their taxi, which is forbidden by the Islam

We left at 17:30.

At the entrance to Beita is a flying CP, about 10 cars from each direction wait for the border police's check.

At Za'tara junction 30 cars from the direction of Huwwara and 10 in the direction of Ramalla.

17:50 at the entrance to Marda there is a strong military presence and a blue police van.