Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 2.6.08, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.,
Shaar Shomron Checkpoint (entry into the West Bank) - dense police presence.
Marda village western entrance - open. We have been noticing this for some weeks now. Same at the eastern entrance.
Zeita-Jama'in village entrance - sealed with concrete blocks and iron gate, doubly secured.
14:00 - Za'tara Junction Checkpoint
One car passes eastbound, five cars waiting coming from the north (Nablus).
Relatively fast passage. Reservists manning the checking posts.
Soldiers securing Jewish settlers (i.e. colonists) at the hitchhikers' posts surrounding the junction roundabout. On our way back we notice the central (shooting) post manned by a soldier.
Beita village entrance - field noticeably burnt. Why? We assumed thorns and weeds had been scorched under control.
Burin-Yitzhar road blocks unmanned.
14:15 - Huwwara Checkpoint
Yells resonating throughout - soldier yelling ID numbers for checking.
The 'sterile' area is back in force: A soldier approaches the exit turnstiles and yells at the men getting their belts back into their pants and fixing their appearance after the inspection: "Get on with it, go, everyone!"
Someone got over-motivated, apparently, and painted "our" white line blue.
No sniffer-dog, nor dog-trainer. Well, it's a hot day. Dogs detect bombs only in the winter...
Lieutenant E. - checkpoint commander. Z. - DCO representative.
Since we did not see Mohammad anywhere - the boy who regularly cleans up the checkpoint compound, we asked Z. about him. Apparently he was hit by a truck inside Nablus a few dsays ago, and now both his legs are fractured. We were sad to hear this.
Three women pass a new washing machine through the special side line. They seem to have undergone an especially fastidious inspection, for when we congratulated them on their new machine, they signaled a choking gesture around their necks and looked at the soldiers...
A young man approaches us, in fluent Hebrew, and tells us he had a magnetic card until 2003, but when he went to get it re-validated, he was informed that he was GSS-prevented (black-listed for 'security' reasons). Z. calls up the DCO to inquire about him and announce there is nothing he can do about this. Because it's in the hands of the GSS. We gave the man Sylvia's number.
15:00 - Beit FuriK
One car waiting at the upper carpark.
At the entrance turnstiles, for the Nablus-bound pedestrians, we found new signs written in Arabic. We asked one of the people present in line and he translated for us:
"To stand one by one here by the turnstiles and cross one by one."
Y., the checkpoint commander, comes to greet us and ask-order us to get back.
We asked him about the signs, too, and here is how he translated them:
"You are kindly requested to wait by the turnstiles and pass one by one in order to avoid unpleasantness".
We asked if the kindly requested was written as an opener or as a thank you at he end of the sign. "I don't know" he answered, "I don't read Arabic." He came back and asked us to move back, the soldiers have been complaining about us, and since the checkpoint was functioning quietly without long waiting lines, we left.
15:30 Huwwara -
One of the women-soldiers yells: "Terrorist procedure in the compound!" All checking posts shut down. "Get back, get back!" the soldiers yell.
"Block the car park!" yells the commander. The entrance path was also blocked.
Inside the checkpoint, a dog-trainer walks her dog.
After about two minutes, they are summoned to the car park. Apparently a bonus had been hidden there for the dog. We witness the maneuver. Apparently such practices are common these days, after the boy was killed two weeks ago. This went on for about ten minutes. All the while, dozens of people waited outside the sheds, the sun beating down mercilessly. We estimated 60 people waiting to get out of Nablus.
Simple calculation yielded 10 minutes X 60 people = 600 minutes that had been wasted here. Ten hours. There were certainly hundreds more in the car park, as well as a throng waiting to enter Nablus.
Finally, the dog and its trainer hop into their car and drive away. The soldiers resume their positions, people stream towards the turnstiles. The shouts are resumed as well: "One by one, you hear?! One by one!!! Don't raise your voice at me, do you hear?!!"
After ten minutes all the cars waiting to enter had been let through.
16:00 - two women and a ten-year old girl are ordered back into line. Apparently, for having pushed and trying to pass without presenting IDs.
Z.: Everyone gets through in my shift. No one is turned back. We only talked to them and explained they shouldn't behave like that again...
16:45 - At the Shaar Shomron cars are lined up, the police is conducting checks.