Huwwara, Sat 5.4.08, Afternoon
At the checkpoint itself there were few occurrences but when we got to the parking area we were greeted with great excitement by the traders and drivers who had one story after another. The army which prevents those whom they consider enemies from any kind of life and pursue and hit the traders and drivers at this parking lot.
The report of 29.3. stated that kiosks had been destroyed and also the cars and during the last week this harassment has continued. The small traders come to the checkpoint to try to make a living because here there are people and the drivers wait hours for passengers who come out of the checkpoint tired and hungry. Amongst them is an man with 8 children helped by his little son or two boys selling cooldrinks and sweets on the days when they are not at school, a syoung couple beinging plants, people who have stands of falafel and salads all of which are sold for nothing by our standards. They stay there all day or until they have sold their goods or to the last bus. The traders have to be attentive to the demands of the market and also aware of the moods of the soldiers or the DCO who come to drive them away by high command.
Five captains have been changed this week at the checkpoint and each one and each one bringing destruction and the DCO captains who come to catch them away or to completely destroy their stands.
Abad says that the DCO captains sent him away from the narrow pavement on which he had his plants and that was after he had been chased away from another pavement, had broken the kiosks and called in the police who threatened them with a fine of 1500 shekel. Sergeant E. of the DCO had intervened and given him time to organize himself anew and today he did not have a stand and had gone to trade in Nablus.
An army Hummer enters the parking lot and drives slowly amongst the fars. Every one says he is waiting to get knocked or to damage some Palestinian car or to try to catch someone out for some driving offence. Twice we saw the Hummer do these turns and were told that this is so each day. Last week a soldier had come, climbed on to the roof of a small and polished yellow car and started to knock and bang on it with his boots. The owner of the car, Zeidan had run quickly to stop him and then had been beaten and hurt in his chest so that he had to have treatment in Nablus. This has already by reported and the driver has made a complaint. We spoke to him and it seems that he is determined to complain and get compensation.
A cleaner, Scully works the entire time with a tin on wheels gathering rubbish and cleaning. The drivers pay him each two shekel a week and he earns about 300 shekel that way. The drivers care about the cleanliness of the place and many times the soldiers punish them because they say the place is filthy,
Mustafa Makif Elharas knows Hebrew from the university and suffers from rheumatism. He has a letter in English explaining his condition and stating that he may pass in the humanitarian line and there is also a short explanation in Hebrew. The letter has expired a month ago and two weeks ago when he used the humanitarian line for the last time a soldier threatened him with punishment and said he would tear it up and since then he has not dared to stand there.
A very sick man who shakes terribly can not even walk a few paces. He had stood in the humanitarian line and had not managed to get to the exit. Only one soldier had moved to help him but he had been on the other side of the fence and in the end he had been carried by two Palestinian men. Most of the week a tv crew had been at the checkpoint and today too we saw an interview which had been carried out with the checkpoint in the background. At the beginning of the week there were more tv crews and also the secret service, border police and police. They waited and ambushed a boy from Udula who had an explosive device. The boy arrived and in his pocket was a black pipe the length of about 15 centimetre. The checkpoint was closed, there was a stoppage of life and the robot was brought in to explode it. Someone said that something had been added to the robot so that there should be an explosion just in case.
There are many people at the checkpoint and the x-ray machine is a nuisance with the noise it makes. All checking is very carefully carried out and with shouts of "Back Back" even many the last one in front of the turnstiles is a metre behind it. The soldier points his rifle not and again towards the driver's seat of a truck which cannot pass until it turns to go back.