Atara, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), יום ש' 23.8.08, בוקר
Translation: Suzanne O.
We left Jerusalem at 6:00 a.m. and returned at 1:00 p.m.
There are a lot of pedestrians going into and out of Nablus. It takes about an hour to cross the roadblock. Three checkpoints, plus a humanitarian one, are open. At one of the checkpoints the soldiers are mainly busy chatting to one another. As soon as we arrived and crossed the coloured line by a few steps the soldiers tried to move us to our ‘proper place'. We refused. An officer appeared, the roadblock commander, and tried, pleasantly we must say, to convince us of the justice of the demand. We remained unconvinced and they didn't bother us any further. The DCO representative was hostile. One detainee; a doctor from Refidia Hospital in Nablus is detained because ‘his number came up'. The man asked us to help, telling us that this is his fate every time he crosses the roadblock. A second detainee, a youth of about 17, is detained because of strange behaviour. There were a lot of photos on his mobile phone showing him with weapons as well as photos of piles of weapons without him. The commander showed us the photos and we wondered about the meaning of it. Did the youth want to be caught? Were they weapons or toys? The case was not clear. The soldiers brought water to the detainees on their own initiative without any intervention from us.
A man returning from dialysis treatment came over to us and told us how difficult it is for him to cross the roadblock three times a week. Today the humanitarian queue moved quickly, but it's not always like that. We have had quite a few such appeals in the past and we have not been able to be of help. We assume that this time too, we will not be of much help to the sick man.
A few pearls:
A man wearing fashionable sunglasses appears; the soldier is impressed by the glasses and addresses the man: "sir, pilot, please come here".
A young man appears with a very curly hairdo; the soldier feels his head and asks: "what's going on, are you a girl?"
The dog handler is at work at the southern part of the car crossing. There are few cars in the queue and the crossing is comparatively rapid. Why? Where have all the cars gone? It's not clear. There is no queue at the entrance to Nablus.
The war against smoking continues - on the other side of the turnstiles as well.
The female soldiers' behaviour is aggressive. We complained about it to the commander and he admitted that it bothers him too and he spends time trying to improve their behaviour. In our opinion the best way would be to close the roadblock once and for all. However, in the light of the building works being carried out it does not appear that our simple and logical suggestion will be taken up in the near future...
The roadblock is almost empty. The few cars cross without hold-ups, and so do the few pedestrians.
We left after a short while and returned to Huwwara.