Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 7.7.08, Afternoon
13.20 Shaar Shomron.
A large force of border police.
At Ariel the development work is going on opposite the entrance. We did not see soldiers at the hitching post.
At Marda the gates east and west were open. Zeita and Jamaiem were closed.
Reserve soldiers stopped us and showed interest. No alerts today. Not even one car waiting at the west.
A bus parked together with us in the parking area and the IDs were given to the soldier and by the time we got out of the car they received their IDs back, 2 minute wait.
The post at the central roundabout was manned and also that in the direction of Nabolus. Two bored soldiers drinking and chatting and trying to find shade from the blazing sun and not watching the cars at all.
14.00 At Huwwara
Many people and the marketplace in the parking area has grown and it is hard to find parking.
Two Israeli women citizens who had exited Nablus were being held until a decision was come to about what to do with them. They had been there for half an hour when we arrived. But the problem was that they are from east Jerusalem and so do not need a special permit to go into Nablus but the second one has Hadera as her place of residence on the ID. The commander D., a second lieutenant has only been at the checkpoint two days and came up to greet us. Riva tries to persuade him to free the women as he can use his own discretion but he says he has to receive orders from higher up. At about 2.30 they are freed.
A taxi is checked and the passengers have to wait about 20 metres away. 3 soldiers check without the help of the dog trainer (maybe because dogs are not allowed to work in the heat) 5 minutes to check both inside and out and then the passengers are seated one of one, first an elderly woman. Then a white haired man and finally a young man.
A shout from the usual line. "This is a warning. A warning I am telling you" . Soldiers run and it seems that they suspect that a young man is trying to bypass but they do not succeed as the man is not detained.
At my request of A. of the DCO goes to the humanitarian line and hurries it up. Someone is called to the line of cars and again the line crawls.
15.00 Beit Furik.
We meet a tour of the organization, "Breaking the Silence" and they give us an interesting history about the settlements from the person responsible for the mapping out of these settlements from "Peace Now".
No cars in the upper parking lot and on the road leading to it one car. The soldiers prefer to hasten the line of those leaving Nablus as there is a line at this hour of the day.
A soldier asks us to move beyond the white line and we object and explain that it is our right as citizens to stand and watch. He is not convinced because his commander comes up surprise, surprise with the same demand. We also explain this to him and remark on the labal "The people with Gush Katif" which on the door of the room at the car passage and he says he will have it taken down. But as to our standing where we are ...he is not convinced of this. He says he decides what constitutes a disturbance and what does not and says that we are bothering them. But his tone remains calm. As there were no problems there and no people and the checkpoint was being well handled we decide to go back to Huwwara.
An elderly woman with baskets goes through and before her two young men also with parcels. We ask the DCO why they are in the fast line and he said that he had given an order that elderly women with parcels should be helped if the young men want to and in return they would be allowed to pass in the fast line.
A police van arrives. A soldier with a kippa gets out and speaks to the commander and leave. A man says that yesterday a policeman had given a ticket to one of the taxi drivers because he did not have a seat belt on.....250 shekel.
A major of the military police who was standing next to the humanitarian line speaks to the soldier for a long time and leaves.
16.50 Za'tara 8 cars in both directions.