Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 3.6.08, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
7:30 Za'tara-Tapuach intersection.
About 70 cars waiting from the direction of Nablus.
Burin-Yitzhar intersection: The checkpoint isn't manned.
7:45 Beit Furik
About 10 cars waiting. As usual here, only one car at a time goes through on each side. Few pedestrians.
A youth asks for our help. It turns out that he has an old ID card, and his new one is waiting in Nablus. But he's not allowed to enter in order to pick it up, because he doesn't have a valid ID card... (Chelm, or just bureaucracy at its best, or maybe something else?). He has Mikki's phone number. We speak to her and she suggests we talk to Z/, the DCO officer. We do so. After about ten minutes, the soldiers allow the youth to go through. It turns out that Z. was helpful. And there's more to come: the soldiers ignore Etti's warm "Good morning," and demand she move back behind the white line. To make ourselves feel better, we go have some coffee at the kiosk that's been set up next to the "parking lot." An environmental structure made of junk has sprung up there, along with mint bushes.
About ten cars are awaiting their turn.
No cars waiting. Two lanes open, and also a humanitarian lane.
A third lane opens for a few minutes. 10-20 people on line to exit.
There's no magnemometer, but there is a dog handler and her dog, and they carefully check each car that exits. Z., the DCO checkpoint officer, greets us politely. He's ready to cooperate and help, and shows a lot of good will. The checkpoint commander, A., also comes over to say hello. He's also friendly and polite. The soldiers are relaxed and behave politely. Some of them look like settlers (a beard and sidelocks peeking out from under their helmet), but unlike the stereotype, they also behave properly.
And here's a surprise: The young man from Beit Furik who didn't have a current ID card comes through the Huwwara checkpoint, smiling and happy, and shakes our hands gratefully. The truth is that Z. is the one who should be thanked.
Z. complains that during a "checkpoint tour" a couple of days earlier, one of the members of Machsom Watch accused the DCO representative of all kinds of things (we didn't completely understand what they were). He was really offended by that, personally and professionally...It appears to us that she'd made a mistake. The guy is really ok, and we shouldn't create unnecessary confrontations and hostility.
9:30 Someone is being detained. It turns out that he's on some list or other. A., the commander, as well as Z., check it out. He's released in about ten minutes.
Before we leave, someone else is detained. Same as before, but we didn't stay to see what happens to him.
10:00 Za'tara-Tapuach intersection.
About 50 cars waiting. The checkpoint commander told us that settlers entered Nablus this morning and so the checkpoint was closed, and the long line is the result of that (we certainly don't understand how the two things are connected). We asked drivers how long they've been waiting. The answers ranged from two hours to half an hour.