Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sat 12.4.08, Morning

Observers: 
Ora A. and Hanna B. (reporting), guest: Sandra Camps & Pablo G. Vega, journalists from Spain
Apr-12-2008
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Morning

Translation: Ruth F.

 An overview:
There were no irregular events during this shift. Most of our activity was to explain to our guests about the Land of the Settlers and the horrors of the occupation.
We left Jerusalem at 6:45.

Za'tara:
We arrived at 7:30, forty vehicles were on line. As soon as we parked our car, a captain from the reserves came to us, he seemed to be the checkpoint commander. By the look on his face we saw he was rather surprised to meet us so early at "his checkpoint". We tried finding out whether he was the commander and asked him politely for how long he would be in the reserves. The answer we got was that he "doesn't give out military secrets"- who are we to argue with such an ardent answer?  
 
The average of time it took for a vehicle to pass was of 10-15 minutes. Passengers were taken of the busses but the inspection was "reasonable" in comparison to what we have seen in the pass. From time to time a vehicle was sent to the parking lot and went through a more severe inspection, but there was no violence. The dog trainer was on vacation- a blessed relief. 

Beit Furik:
There was much traffic but the pace was quick. When we a bus full of young joyful girls was at the checkpoint, they were probably on their way to a field trip. The girls were told to pass the checkpoint by foot and the bus passed quickly after a short inspection. There were 8 vehicles in line. The drivers were "content" on the day (what is there to be content about?). We passed the white- no one took any interest in us or in our guests, and we had no conversations with the soldiers. 
We explained to our guests about the reality in the villages at that area and the "wonders" of the "Madison road"- We learned again just how hard it is for people to understand this situation.
We parked by a truck full of eggs- when we tried to find out whether there was some kind of a problem we were told that there was none, and the driver claimed that he would have no trouble passing. Perhaps, our impression was   different
ven though he didn't ask for our help we bough some good, fresh and cheep eggs, and then headed off. 

9:30- Huwwara:
The parking lot was full, we had trouble finding a parking space. The market was full of people and as was already reported a large shed was placed there. At the end of the parking lot was a tent with some chairs, we found some elder women resting in it. There weren't many people in the checkpoint, perhaps due to the late hour. Everything was calm, even the military police soldiers didn't yell at us as they usually do. A' the checkpoint commander stood near us when we explained to our guest about the "logic" behind this checkpoint and the more general implications that the checkpoints bear on the Palestinians lives. 
 After the guests had left for Ramala for another meeting, he came to us and tried explaining to us that we were naïve and ignorant when it came to historical processes, that we put the soldiers at risk, they who "protect us from the hornet's nest in Nanlus" and that it was vital that they prevent from the Palestinians to pass from Nablus to Ramala. "Why do you hat your country" and "why don't you care about the damage you cause to your country", "don't you care about the soldier's lives"- Nothing new under the sun, as others had already said!
We had once again passed the white line. The commander asked that we stand back. We politely refused- we stayed where we were and were left alone.  The Oketz unit didn't do much; they mostly rested while we were there.

"The Bird"- The solider sitting in the highest post kept noticing what was going on at the checkpoint, but we hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary. 
.
 The average passing time was of 15 minutes for the pedestrians. For vehicles heading southern of Nablus it took between 25 to 45 minutes. The whole time we were there no one was detained and all the vehicles were permitted to pass.

We left at 11:00.


Za'tara:  No lines.

At Binyamin gate there was a Hummer  on the side of the road, it was hidden- no vehicles were detained there either.