Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 17.7.08, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
14:20 Two police cars are waiting at the blocked entrance to Zeita.
At the Za'tara intersection, coming from Zeita, soldiers are checking luggage compartments and ID's of cars and people. Six cars waiting from the direction of Huwwara.
14:39 There's a hitchhiking area for settlers next to the Huwwara checkpoint, and an army jeep is parked there. The soldiers seem to be providing security for the settlers. There's a new sign on the road, which is now called "Yosef's Way", in memory of Yosef Twito who fell in battle defending the area. The power of a name.
The Huwwara checkpoint is very spread out.
Divided up, protected, well-equipped. Fences and concrete barriers and wire and thick glass.
Two men have been in isolation for an hour and a half. The grandmother of one of them is waiting for him, sitting on a piece of cloth, in the adjoining shed. She's about 70 years old.
Following orders, people remove their belts and put them back on, lift their shirts, show documents, belongings, run over to the X Ray truck at the other end of the checkpoint, in the terrible heat.
The magnemometers are beeping the whole time, the soldiers are shouting to each other, at the Palestinians - "ruh min hon, ta'el, yallah yallah." Someone responds too quickly; someone responds too slowly - you're reprimanded whatever you do.
Next to the bathrooms - "watch the door, there's a 'bingo' (a person, a detainee) he is urinating. When he's done, put him in the 'jorra' [literally, "sewer" - slang for the isolation cell]."
The exit shed is full of people crowded against one another during the whole time we're there. Suddenly the checkpoint commander pulls out two people who changed lines in the shed where people are waiting - grabs them by the shirt, pushes, yells, puts them in the "jorra" (there are now four people there, in a cell one meter square). "You'll wait here three hours," he tells them, looking at his watch, and then comes over to arrange everyone else in three straight lines, again shoves, threatens, yells. "Shut up, shut up."
A soldier hurries over to his commander because one man has scarves showing the Palestinian flag and some text, so they detain him for a few minutes, gathering around him in all seriousness, talking, examining.
At 15:35 A' is released from isolation. A pedestrian has his thighs patted down, and a rifle is always pointed at someone from a distance of a foot and a half.
At least 14 cars on line to exit Nablus - we couldn't see the rest. From the time we arrived it took 40 minutes for the seventh car in line to pass through - checking each car took from 4 to 10 minutes, and between cars the soldiers often stopped for a few minutes. The 14th car in line waited an hour and a half from the time we arrived, and we don't know how long it waited before we came, and how long it waited at the next checkpoint.
T', the second detainee, is released at 16:00. Two more detainees are still inside.
Another grabbed by the hand, pulled - "Quick - to the jorra!"
We left at 16:25
At 17:20 they were still in the detention cell - now four people. And the DCO representative told us on the phone that it was he who put the additional people in there - they were selling sabras in the parking area and got in the way of the pedestrians. He told them to move but they didn't want to.