Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 18.6.08, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Workers with permits and their Israeli driver detained at the Tapuach-Za'tara intersection; few people passing through Huwwara in either direction. Everything as usual at the Beit Furik checkpoint (after yesterday's events in the village, which greatly delayed the opening of the checkpoint).
7:10 Tapuach-Za'tara intersection
15 vehicles, from the west this time; no traffic jam at all from the north. The line got shorter while we were there.
A car with Israeli plates is detained in the parking lot, with its door open and the driver inside. Four Palestinians sitting next to it on the sidewalk. A soldier guarding them at gunpoint.
In answer to our question about why they're detained, first the soldier answers and then the checkpoint commander (reservists) that the Palestinians were riding in a vehicle that was "supposedly" Israeli, and turned south, despite the fact that their stated destination was Ariel. That's why they're under suspicion, and being detained for investigation. One of the Palestinians shows us an official permit which explicitly states the employer's name in Ariel. All the others have a similar document. The driver sat in the car frozen in fear, not understanding why he was detained. I don't remember how long they were there before we arrived, but only when we approached him did he remember to take out his license as well as a document with the names and details of all the people he has to transport to the factory.
a. We made it clear to the soldiers that this is a recognized and authorized transport.
b. They turned south (in the direction of Ramallah), and not to Route 5 (west), because that way there's an additional, official entrance to Ariel, and that route is shorter.
The soldiers, unfortunately, weren't aware of that. Nor, apparently, do they have a map at the checkpoint that they can use to confirm this. Nor is it clear why the Israeli driver wasn't able himself to explain things to the soldiers. In any event, all of them got their documents back within a few minutes and continued on their way. We didn't even have to call the humanitarian office...
7:25 Yitzhar-Burin intersection - not manned.
7:35 Beit Furik
The area doesn't seem crowded. No cars waiting. Quietly routine at the checkpoint. Pedestrian traffic slowly increases. Only one car came from Nablus while we were here. The checkpoint commander even greeted us cheerfully, and was willing to talk. In the parking lot people still talked about yesterday's events, because of which the checkpoint opened only after 10 am and made it very crowded.
We popped over to the village. Everything is quiet. Most stores are closed, because they usually open after 9 am.
The checkpoint is almost empty, unusual these days. Two inspection booths operating. The magnomewer device is working. G., the checkpoint commander, says that today is "boring." A., the DCO representative, is also there, so we could have a conversation. The soldiers are interested to hear what the feedback about them is.
Very few vehicles going through, most of them, in fact, coming from the south. For some reason, some of them are checked in the middle of the lane rather than at the inspection point at the entry to the checkpoint.
Nothing changed during our stay.
9:45 We left Huwwara
10:00 Tapuach-Za'tara intersection - no vehicles waiting in any direction.