Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 17.4.08, Afternoon
14.50 We stopped next to the south-western gate of Marda so as to make our guest acquainted with the iron gate which has been strengthened as much as possible by barbed wire and also with the difference between Ariel and Marda. An elderly couple neared the gate and to our astonishment we saw that there was a "hole" where a person could pass. Tamar helps to get a piece of the woman's dress out of the barbed wire. It may be that by this revelation we may destroy the possibility in the future of residents of Marda to leave the village to catch a taxi to visit a doctor in Nablus. That is to say that they will not have to use the official gate near the entrance of Zeita).
15.03 At Zeita the entrance has been closed for two months by cement blocks and on them an iron gate. The entrance to Marda is open.
Zaatra (Tapuah) has 40 cars waiting to enter Nablus. At the beginning they are checked at one post and then a second is opened. One of the guards is eating sunflower seeds. A female settler has made herself at home as usual on the side. A settler wanders around the posts and inside them giving the soldiers Passover goodies. We ask K. from the Army Humanitarian Centre to open another post.
15.35 At the wholesale market in Beita there is no army presence and Burin-Yizhar is also empty.
One detainee in the isolation and with his hands handcuffed behind him. The commander appears and hisses through his teeth , "Get away from here." When I ask why the man is handcuffed he says that he does not have to answer. Daphne says that Hashem of the DCO says that the man cheeked the commander but that he is not handcuffed and will soon be free. She goes to see if this is so and the commander arrives and says that he has summoned the police. He also says that the man is not detained because he was cheeky but he will not tell her why.
16.24 We phone K at the Army Humanitarian Centre and he says he will try to find out what the reason is and that maybe the man is handcuffed because he acted in a certain way and was thought to be dangerous. He is still handcuffed and in isolation. Tamar goes to the isolation and the commander says that it is locked and says that she is forbidden to be there. She asks "For what reason?" and he says, "I am the reason."
Two members of the ecumenical team are also present and say that there is no pressure of cars leaving or entering Nablus. There is no dog trainer. There is an x-ray machine and 3 checking areas for the young people leaving Nablus most of whom are students going home for the weekend. There is a humanitarian line. The DCO representative is not doing anything. A young man turns to him and says that his uncle has just come back from hospital and asks that he help to get him through but the DCO answers speaking over his head indifferently saying he will help and doing nothing.
17.00 He promised to find out why the man is being detained and has also done nothing.
17.02 Soldiers of the special unit for dispersing demonstrations arrive and ask why they have been called in and it turns out it is because of us. They consult amongst themselves and phone. At 17.21 K of the Humanitarian Centre does not know why the man is handcuffed or detained and is waiting for a reply from the DCO.
17.22. We look into the isolation cell and the man is still handcuffed. His relations arrive and say that he is a student from Haris who passes each day without a problem and they do not understand what happened. Next to the turnstile at the entrance to Nablus is a problem. They want to take in children's bicycles but they cannot do so through the turnstiles therefore they lift them over the turnstiles and the barbed wire. That is the way to do it in Nablus.
17.30 The commander and the police are still discussing what to do. Tamar speaks to the police and they ask for our IDs. The commander has decided to make a complaint about us. A police van arrives from Ariel.
18.00 The detained man is freed and now K says that he was detained because he was rude to the commander.
18.57 Zaatra. 30 cars from the north waiting to be checked and the Centre says that they will see if another checking post can be opened.
Next to the church which is closed in Zeita is a command car. A little way from Marda is a military jeep and 3 soldiers with pointed weapons are checking a private car. It seems that the driver stopped a few kilometers earlier at the side of the road so that they checking him. He is freed. In the meantime more soldiers in a Hummer and a command car arrive and warn us that at Marda stones are being thrown on the road. We saw nothing. At the Shomron gate we saw no detainees and hope that all have got home in time.