Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 11.8.08, Afternoon
Translator" charles K.
13:35; Shomron gate - Large police and border police presence. No detainees.
A bus has been detained, all its passengers taken off and a number of soldiers near them. While we're parking the car, the bus is released, but one of the passengers is sent back in the direction of Nablus. He didn't speak with us, so we don't have information about what happened.
The person guarding the l"Menora" is at his post and watches the places around the plaza where hitchhikers wait.
Three cars waiting from the west, 16 from the north.
No detainees in isolation. A taxi driver reports that there have been problems since the morning, people under 35 are being detained.
I., the DCO representative, 2nd lieutenant N. - the checkpoint commander.
The x-ray vehicle isn't there. We ask about it - it was taken to be repaired, and they don't know when it will be returned.
No dog or dog handler. When does she arrive, we ask? Whenever she wants to, was the reply.
Border police soldiers at the checkpoint. We asked why - a tour, that's all. They leave after a few minutes.
14:55: Beit Furik
An armored military vehicle standing a little bit past the upper parking lot, toward Beit Furik. We asked the person selling coffee about it. He says that there's a kind of truck here that transports cars, and they want to make sure that it really returns to Nablus and doesn't continue into Beit Furik.
First sergeant M. smiles at us.
The truck returns to Nablus.
Few pedestrians; they're checked in a businesslike manner.
A car comes from the direction of Nablus - the driver gets out, speaks English, he's a teacher.
At least five cars are waiting at the exit from Nablus.
Two detainees await us.
Riva called the humanitarian center, and was told they'd try to look into it.
One of them is yelling: I have to get out of here, and I'll get out of here, even if it takes a bullet in the head! And you better bring someone to teach you how to behave! And stop turning everything into a principle
N., the commander, stands near the isolation pen and talks to him. I. is also there.
I take photographs in order to record the conversation, and two soldiers come over and tell me to stop because "it's forbidden to photograph soldiers" (since when?). N., the commander, comes over, tells them to go to their positions and explains with a smile: they don't like you. That's their right, I replied, and I have a right to take photographs...
Here's what N. told us about what happened: The guy's in a hurry, and that's why he's yelling. He tried to bring in auto parts, and that's forbidden at this checkpoint. N. says - I saw him on line, explained to him that he can't bring them through, and that he should go back. He went to another line. He was turned back again, and then got in a taxi and tried to bring in the parts that way. The other man is his friend, who knew that bringing parts in isn't allowed here - but still volunteered to be the delivery boy. The first was detained at 3 pm, the second a few minutes before we arrived. Both are young men, in their late twenties.
OK, we say - You can't bring auto parts through the Huwwara checkpoint. Where can you bring them in? I don't know, shrugs N. After a little more pressure, and Ruby's intervention - who says that you're allowed to have a little initiative, he admits that there's a lot of pressure during this shift, and he isn't interested in finding out, because he's not the one who's supposed to give "them" answers.
I. says, you can bring them in through the Awarta checkpoint. They don't like to go there, because its out of their way.
N.: they have it rough; so do we. What can you do? I'd give anything not to be here, sweating in this flak jacket. If there were a dog handler, even though it's against the rules the dog would do a check and he could go through.
After a long wait, the father of the first man arrives to take the auto parts back to Nablus. "Keep him detained even for five days," he tells the soldiers (according to them).
A car is checked - it takes about one minute. A taxi - five minutes.
16:50: Za'tara: ten cars waiting from the north, five from the west.
A Hummer is standing opposite Zeita Jama'in. We asked one of the people waiting about it. He said they're looking and checking licenses.
The security personnel who were at Shomron gate have left, and the road is open.