Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Sun 27.4.08, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
The media announced today that the Nablus enclosure would be removed, assuming no one will ask what that means, and that the removal of one checkpoint (between the village of Asira A-Shamaliya and Nablus) would sound good enough not to ask questions.
15:25 Huwwara checkpoint
Commander Second Lieutenant Ei., DCO representative - T.
The pedestrian waiting lines stretch all the way to the edge of the shed. The special side line for women children and the elderly is also full. First women get through rapidly, then elderly men. Some of the latter are required to raise their shirts and expose their body all the way up to their chins. A man reveals his paunch in sight of everyone and is obviously severely embarrassed. A young man pleads with the soldier to let him through, in vain.
Three active checking posts - everyone is required to unbelt and empty pockets of all belongings. Young men exit and report half an hour's waiting time.
A holder of special entry permits to Israel and into Nablus purchased a new car on Thursday and could not have it registered yet (because of the Passover week vacation at the DCO offices). He is refused entry into Nablus with his new car. He tells us the commander even refused to hear him. We locate the DCO rep. and ask him to intervene, he tries to convince the commander, but in vain. Finally the commander exercises his judgment and rules:
Only through Awarta (goods) checkpoint, and only on a tow-truck! (which costs hundreds of shekels). The man is in a hurry and leaves angrily although we have already requested the intervention of the DCO chief. Later more cars request entry and are refused on similar bureaucratic grounds. "E. will not let them through, you're wasting your time" says the soldier checking vehicles to the DCO as he tries to get a taxi in whose permit expired yesterday and the driver lives in Nablus. Another taxi, carrying a sick person who cannot walk, is refused. The DCO representative is forced to get a taxi from the other side of the checkpoint to arrive in reverse for E. will not let it come it normally and turn around to pick the patient up. "I tried but he refuses.
The commander on this morning's shift would have let him through and congratulated him for his new car!"
A Palestinian detainee in his car, wearing his Red Crescent vest. He tells us he was alerted to drive a doctor from Nablus to the clinic in Awarta village, but the car broke down and he had to change the oil crater. Therefore the doctor made the rest of his way in an ambulance. When the driver came back, the checkpoint commander told him he was lying. "You lied to me. Where is that doctor?" and did not return his ID.
In our presence he approached the commander - a sergeant - and explained to him again what the problem was. To our surprise they both lie down on the asphalt under the car for the driver to show the commander where the repair had taken place, and then the commander hands him his ID back and says to us: "I wasn't going to keep him here all day"... So why detain him at all?
Beit Furik Checkpoint
17:00 - Quiet and empty. We explained to our guest that the essence of this checkpoint is not what one sees there, but rather what one does not see. Few cars, and few pedestrians, some of them greeting us with smiles. A week ago three women were not allowed through to get to the funeral of their relative in the village, and after a very long wait in vain, they gave up and returned to Nablus.
The spectacular view and the false calm create an idyllic, pastoral illusion of life on the land - no trace of the ongoing, incessant violence and oppression. No one heeds the anguish of Beit Furik and Beit Dajan's villagers.