Beit Furik, Huwwara, Sun 23.3.08, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
15:15 - Tapuach/Za'tara Junction CP- empty of vehicles
15:30 - Huwwara Checkpoint
3 active checking posts, x-ray truck, DCO representative T.
Checkpoint commander (No-name second lieutenant) takes the trouble to go over to Judith as soon as she sets foot at her usual monitoring position across the road from the vehicle checking post, with the inevitable demand to go away. She answers him assertively that this is her place, always been, and he lets her be.
Pedestrian lines quite full, and get much more crowded during our shift, expectedly. The special side line for women children and elderly is active and constant.
15:40 - a youngster is sent to the cubicle for 'educative' detention, not having been servile enough in line. No one to talk to about this - cp commander inapproachable.
He does not fail to reach the shaded area where we stand, near the exit turnstiles, and chase from there - with a mighty/scornful silent stare all the young men busy re-belting their trousers after their thorough inspection. (In cases of young men who look particularly able, the inspection also includes taking off their shoes and walking in their socks through the metal detector).
In the fierce sun, along the concrete ledge outside the exit area, a new post for the women (nine of them) waiting for their male travel companions not yet done with the checks.
An older woman is seated on the asphalt, her legs in the ledge's meager shade.
Eyes desperate. The parched silence of an early heat-wave. Not a single superfluous batting of an eyelash.
The line become full to bursting, endless in the suffocating heat.
A youngster passes us by, and chuckles: "Hey, how are you? Do you speak Yiddish?"...
An amazing sight-and-sound feat: all three Military Policewomen (in charge of checking IDs) manage to screech and suck on lollipops, at the same time.
16:30 - we leave for Beit Furik
Beit Furik Checkpoint - 16:40
As usual at this time of day, a fair trickle of pedestrians, and a long line of about 35 cars awaiting inspection outbound from Nablus, on a single checking lane. Cars inbound have to wait long, too, until they're signaled in.
A truck with 3 scrapped cars stands at the side of the CP entrance. The driver and his assistant tell us they've been held there, their IDs taken from them, since 11 a.m.!!
Soldiers on the morning shift took the driver's ID (the assistant's was returned to him), no explanation, nothing. He's been waiting since. Five and a half hours by the time we get there. We call the army hotline, then the DCO who promise to look into it. They also inform us that a Beit Furik resident's truck needs an entry permit to Nablus. ???
That too is an innovation.
After mobilizing Naomi to talk to the DCO we learn of the following surreal development:
For the past several days there are new instructions in the region - trucks delivering scrapped cars into Nablus require specialized inspection. Today the specialist is in the Jordan Valley. Therefore, the driver at hand has been ordered to while away what by now has become six hours (and running) at the checkpoint. Without anyone explaining anything to him.
Some more calls produce the arrival of a white DCO jeep that stands just inside the CP compound, and after the CP commander approaches, and they chuckle for a bit, the commander refuses to talk to us, and the jeep disappears.
At some late point the driver is signaled to finally.. approach the checking post, and is left to wait there, still with no information whatsoever. Nothing happens for about ten minutes, then he is signaled once more to reverse and wait at his former waiting place outside the entry.
At 18:15 - after we hear the specialist story on the phone, we exchange telephone numbers with the driver, and leave.
On our way home, after 18:30, we learn that he has just been released.
No specialist inspection. Into Nablus.
This man waited with no explanations offered from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the Beit Furik Checkpoint due to a new draconian, un-enforceable regulation. Naturally seven and a half hours' waiting at a checkpoint do not entail any explanation for the victim.