Beit Furik, Huwwara, Sha`ar Shomron (Qasem), Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 14.5.08, Morning
Translation: Hanna K.
"Bush Festival (also possibly: Hag' Bush)
07:05 - The Samaria passage -
The CP is spread to the East, in the opposite direction there is a long queue to the West
07:25 - Marda - open, Zeita - closed
Quite differently from what we witnessed on other Wednesday mornings lately, there is a queue of 15 cars from the west, and we, the masters of the land, can move past them at great speed.
On the northern side of the CP two stations are active, as well as a 'humanitarian' one.
It is impossible to see the end of the queue coming from the north.
In the parking lot there are three dogs which alternately check cars that are sent to the lot for checking. They sniff below, above, in the car trunks, go up on the seats. Later the passengers wipe the door and the seat clean.
There is a car that has been checked, its passengers sit inside, and it still does not drive away. Its driver says that they have been there since 06:30, "look, the papers are on the concrete wall, he does not check them at all". The CP commander says that they have been there 'only' half an hour. Some of the passengers are bank employees on their way to Ramallah.
At 07:55 their ID cards were returned to them and they went on their way, to the next CP.
We measured the length of time it took to check the bus from the moment it reached the parking lot - 19 minutes.
07:42 - the queue from the west dissolved.
2 women stand next to the "stop sign" at the exit of the parking lot. The supervision of the Palestinian traffic in the area is activated also in this situation. The commander, a reserve captain, who told us that he derives no pleasure from what he is doing, is summoned to drive them away. "Girls" he calls out to them, whistles too, swings his hands to make them go away. They go away.
In the CP area there are two men, waiting for the police. It is (of course) impossible to tell us why.
At 08:00 approximately a patrol car arrives. The IDs are handed the policemen. They check on the terminal that is installed in their car.
At 08:07 the two men have been returned their papers and they continue on their way.
08:12 - there are 13 cars in the queue from the north.
08:19 - the intersection of roads 57/60 (between the village of Huwwara and the CP of Huwwara)
For cars coming from Burin/Yitzhar there is a CP. There is also one on the road from the Huwwara CP to the village. The CP is run by the Border Policemen. There are over 20 cars in the queue, and by now a traffic jam of cars coming from all directions has been created (the masters of the land cross over a white dividing line and pass over to the opposite queue, so as not to be delayed).
One is filled with amazement and anger when seeing this CP. After all only a few minutes ago people were forced to pass through one CP, there are no other roads on which they are allowed to travel. Why is a CP necessary here??
We phone S. at the humanitarian center with the result that we get the answer "I shall check what is happening". Noa P. whom we contacted to put her into the picture promised to talk to whomever was possible.
On the parking lot there a white sheet has already been spread on poles, to protect the drivers from the sun. A compact group of drivers which stands beneath it is amused, if one can use this word, by the situation. "if we won't laught, what is left to us? One doesn't live if one doesn't laugh' says one of them, a 30 years old, father of four young children, who misses the days before October 2000, when he used to work in Tel Aviv, at the Dizengoff Center. Another driver says that now it is the 'Bush Hag'.
And one should say that one should put a CP between the bedroom and the toilet. "you made us into a flour sieve'" he said, and we agreed with him.
In the checking stations area there are almost no people!!!
There are 2 checking posts and one humanitarian. There is one active X-Ray device and the man are requested to take off their belts.
Except for T., the veteran DCO representative, there is a new representative, captain Z. who arrived yesterday and is, according to him, responsible for the Nablus checkpoints. He says that at Huwwara they are building a new checkpoint, to make it easier for the Palestinians, and there will be cold water, toilets and a shaded area in continuation of the pedestrians shed.
09:06 - another phone call to S. from the humanitarian center who insists that there are "security reasons" for placing two CPs (the permanent CP at Huwwara and the rolling CP on the road from the CP to the village) so near one to the other.
09:27 Beit Furik
Today it was alright the drinks stall operator tell us. No queue, almost no people. We almost said "pastoral".
At the CP itself there is a car waiting and waiting until one minute after we have arrived soldiers come out of the pedestrians' checking posts and signal to its driver to advance towards them. If a car with passengers arrives at the CP, they leave the car and go to be checked as pedestrians.
10:00 We prepared to leave and saw that on the concrete walls which mark the edge of the CP, at the crossroads with the Madison route, somebody had written "death to the Arabs".
We begin erasing it and a man who passes there comments: "who wrote this? It's shameful".
10:05 Two soldiers guard a vehicle with yellow number plates which is stuck on the side of the road between Yitamar and Beit Furik. (is this what they joined the army for?)
10:08 At the Huwwara CP there are about 15 people in the queue.
10:10 They removed the CP between Huwwara CP and the village. But the CP from the direction of Yitzhar is still active.
10:30 Za'tara: 20 cars from the north, 10 from the west.
10:54 The Samaria passage - they removed the CP towards the east.