Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 3.4.08, Morning

Tamar S and Rahel A-T (reporting)

Translation: Ruth F.

Surprisingly the checkpoints were empty, apart for Beit Furik where as usual there was a long line of cars. The soldiers were cooperative and courteous to us, perhaps it was because of Tamar, a young lady that joined the shift. 

6:30- At that hour the police hadn't yet arrived to Samaria passage at the Palestinian side.
6:40- The entrance to Marda was open and the one to Zeita was closed with cement blocks and a metal gate, "as usual".

6:50- Za'tara- It was completely empty from the west. On the eastern side there were 6-7 cars, even though there were only two open lanes, very unusual for that hour.

A privet car was sent to the parking lot. The four young men in it were asked to stand away from it and wait in the farther end of the lot while a soldier was standing in front of them with his weapon pointing at them. The car was thoroughly inspected, even a dog got in it. We asked why the special inspection was needed, and were told that it was a random inspection and that they always send the passengers away while the car is being inspected.

7:20- Huwwara-
About 40-50 people were waiting at the checkpoint but the passage was rather fast.
Two posts were open. Cars, including busses, past without any particular delay.
A' from the DCO came to talk to us from his own will.

8:10- Awarta-
2-3 cars were waiting from Nablus. Five cars were at the entrance to Nablus. The lanes were open and the inspection wasn't thorough and they past quickly.

8:30- Beit Furik-
Twenty cars were waiting at the parking lot, the drivers complained that it was been a ruff day at the checkpoint.
There was only one open lane. The soldiers were nice and allowed us to come near (seeing Tamar), but they worked slowly, they made jokes with each other about the length of the line and wouldn't open another lane. They said they didn't have enough manpower, but we could make out the situation. We called the DCO.

At 9:05 we noticed that they stopped passing the vehicles. When Tamar said something to them about it, and the soldiers started to argue with the commander. They said that they deserved a cigarette after such a long shift. But do they all have to go at the same time? Apparently it's just more fun.
The argument lasts for about 10 minutes and only then did the checkpoint open.

At 9:30 we left, there were still 20 cars in line. We headed to Huwwara and talked to A' who was there and promised to take care of the situation.

9:40- Za'tara- There were no cars from either direction.