Awarta, Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 1.5.08, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
14:24 - Marda village gate open, Zeita village gate blocked.
14:29 - Za'tara/Tapuach Junction CP - 4 cars waiting, coming from the west,
2 active checking posts for vehicles soutbound from Nablus/Huwwara, 12 cars waiting. One of the securing soldiers points his gun directly at the cars. See photograph on our website.
The checks are swift.
14:37 - no more waiting cars.
14:45 - only one active checking post, pressure of waiting cars begins to build up. Two Palestinians arriving at the CP are arrogantly turned away and forbidden to stand near the northbound hitchhikers' station. A Jewish settler (i.e. colonist) approaches us and threatens to break our camera. Says we have to clear for the area for this is a closed military area, swears at us, calls his friends to join him. The Checkpoint commander and another soldier approach them and prevent them from approaching us, calmly and assertively.
14:52 - the Yitzhar-Burin-Huwwara Road CPs are unmanned.
15:04 - Huwwara CP -
nearly empty of pedestrians/students for today is holiday, May Day.
Two active checking posts, swift passage of pedestrians in the
young men's line as well as the special side line for women,
children and elderly. No pressure in the vehicle lanes entering
and exiting Nablus.
We thought this would be an "easy" shift today.
From the vehicle lane entering Nablus singing
voices are heard. Two vans arrive
transporting a family, mostly little children,
who meant to take part in the Hinneh celebrations for
a wedding of a young man from Hebron and his Beit Furik bride.
At the checking post, a soldier and the DCO representative: the cars are not permitted to enter Nablus and are forced to turn back to Hebron for lack of special permits.
The situation looks dim when we approach to try and look into things.
Dafna calls Naomi L. to try and change the ruling, and miraculously A., DCO rep. intervenes, too - he has also been trying to obtain entry permits, and they are permitted to proceed and even enter Beit Furik village. We thank the DCO man for his success and rush over to Beit Furik Checkpoint to make sure they are allowed passage (photos of the bridegroom and family will be sent separately).
In other words: when they asked to be let through to go to Beir Furik, the DCO was the one who told them to turn around and get back to Hebron, no wedding today.
Had we not intervened, presumably the family would not have been allowed to proceed, all this at the "mercy" of the DCO representative. It was only our intervention that drove him to act.
15:55 - Beit Furik Checkpoint -
just as we arrived, when we were still on the "Madison Road" before the turnoff to the checkpoint, we saw the two familiar vans turning from the Checkpoint towards the village, so they managed to get through here, too. They recognize us from afar, honk, wave their greetings and proceed to their celebration. Congratulations.
We find two detainees at the checkpoint. Dafna approaches to find out more details, and the checkpoint commander orders her away, says he will come to speak to us near "our" white line. He claims the reason for the detention is that "they were where they are not supposed to be", and he detained them with his superior's knowledge and approval. He says they had been detained half an hour ago, and will be held for another half-hour to an hour.
16:18 - Awarta checkpoint -
No pressure at all. The guard says that ever since the checkpoint north of Nablus was opened, less vehicles arrive here.
16:23 - back to Beit Furik Checkpoint - the detainees have been released.
4 vehicles wait to be checked before exiting Nablus, one vehicle entering from Beit Furik.
For a moment there we thought we might be able to say
that today the checkpoint was a relatively easy,
swift affair, and here - a driver passed without the soldier
having moved his finger to signal him to do so,
and is turned back and only after being properly signaled,
could indeed proceed. All this while the checkpoint
was empty of others, the rest of the soldiers with their backs to the checking post, and doing nothing. Earlier a passenger was made to disembark using his walking cane - in order to cross the checkpoint on foot.
At the taxi park a driver told us that last time he came to get his work permit renewed it was withheld. We gave him Sylvia's number.
We were told that for the last two days morning waitinlines have been unusually long and slow for vehicles entering Nablus.
17:20 - Huwwara, very few people at the checkpoint.
18:00 - Yitzhar-Burin CPs unmanned.
18:02 - Huwwara village - army jeep, lights flashing, parks parallel to the road.
18:38 - Za'tara/Tapuach Junction CP - no waiting cars southbound, 2 waiting cars coming from the west.
18:41 - a short distance after the Za'tara checkpoint, on the right side of the road, two hummers stand parallel to the road, lights flashing.
18:43 - Zeita entrance sealed, Marda - open.