Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 27.2.08, Morning

Observers: 
Naomi L., Hannah A. (Reporting)
27/02/2008
|
Morning

Translation: Rachel B.

General Comment: There are mobile units of the army in action at the exits from the villages.

Zeita: 7:36 AM

The entrance continues to be blocked with sheets of metal and cement blocks.  Across the road, next to the barrier, there is an army Jeep with soldiers in it.  When we passed through again at 10:15 AM the Jeep was no longer there.

Za'tara: 7:42 AM

No cars approaching from the west. From the north -

7:45 AM While we arrived at the checkpoint, a third processing station is opened. A bus is sent to the parking lot and its passengers will have to wait while their documents are checked.

We were not there observing for very long before the Reserve Duty soldiers and the Officer, who introduce himself as the checkpoint commander, approached us and demanded rather aggressively that we leave and go to the other side of the fence in the parking lot.  "I am the commander of the checkpoint and you are interfering with my work," he said, despite the fact that we had not approached anyone there.  Rather, we stood on the paved path near the checkpoint positions and just observed.  Again, the argument given is that this is a military zone.  Our counter-argument is that this is a zone where there are civilians.  We saw no point in getting into a discussion and started to move away. 

We inquired if there is a "segregation" in effect.  "Why on earth would I give you such information?" he said, "If it were up to me, I would place you in segregation."  The soldier next to the commander repeated the same thing.  The cat is out of the bag: we are not interfering with their work or anything of that sort.  We checked to see if we can lodge an official complaint against him for expressing political opinions beyond his authority and while on duty.  The problem is there is no one to complain to.

7:51 AM We counted 15 cars waiting in the lien from the north.

Beita: 8:00 AM

At the entrance to Beita there is an army Jeep parked sideways across the road and checking all passengers in vehicles coming in and out of the village. 

At 10:40 AM the jeep was no longer there and the entrance to the village was open.

Huwwara: 8:11 AM

Life is stronger than anything. People have to make a living. The parking lot and the traffic islands are filled with vegetable, falafel, and schwarma stalls, as well as drinks for sale. Whatever you need...

At the checkpoint itself there is a dog handler (not working while we were there), a scanner (operating) and three stations for pedestrians. Two sanitation workers wearing reflective vests with "Caution on the Road" on the front and Sanitation Worker" on the back, lest you be confused about who they are.

8:30 AM Two men are led by the soldiers to a Hummer parked next to the Humanitarian Station.  It turns out that they drove on the "Apartheid Road" and the order the checkpoint commander has for such situations is to confiscate their ID cards. He is planning to hold their ID cards until 11 AM. Our protest about this confiscation gets the response of: What's the preferred option - to place them in the detention pen or let them roam around in the parking lot, or make them sit in their car (until they get their ID cards back)?

It is apparent that here they have not heard for the prohibition on confiscating ID cards and detention as a form of punishment.

 From a conversation with the detaineesinfo-icon it emerges that one of them is a vegetable seller who has a permit to go into Israel (excepting Eilat).  In other words, the man can go anywhere in Israel but on the road right next to his home, he cannot go.  E., the District Coordinating Office Commander, pulls out the "ace in the hole:" He can, indeed, go into Israel, but without a car, and here {on the road forbidden to Palestinians} he was traveling in a car.  In any case, he has probably already missed the court hearing for a relative in the Court in Ofer, where he wanted to go. 

When we came back from Beit Furik we saw that the two detainees were no longer there.  We called them at about 10:20 am and it turned out that they had been released.

During the whole time we were at the Huwwara checkpoint people went into Nablus without being checked.  The line of people coming out of the city was at the most 30 people at a time.  The checking involved removing belts and taking everything out of the pockets.  Once in a while, a car arrived going into Nablus and was checked through quickly.  In the line of cars coming out of Nablus there were no particular delays either, despite the ritual of having the car stop 25 meters from the checkpoint station, people getting out of the car, the car approaching the checkpoint, checking, the passengers then re-entering the car and them continuing on their way.

Beit Furik: 9:39 AM

There are 7 cars in line to enter Nablus.  The man at the coffee stall tells us that an hour and a half before we arrived there was a very long line of cars but a representative from the District Coordination Office arrived and arranged for speedy processing.

At the checkpoint there are 2 stations for pedestrians entering the town. Once in a while cars are checked at the same time.

We left Beit Furik at 10 AM.

In the village of Huwwara the grocery store owner told us that in the morning soldiers came by and took down his information.  The man is in despair. The word "hope" only increases his despair even more.  The merchandise in the store is meager and since morning he has not sold anything.

Za'tara north: 10:45 AM

There are 2 stations and 10 cars in line.