Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 6.8.08, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
14:20 Marda - both exits open, the one to the west and the main one.
Jam'in - the gate is closed.
Za'tara - four cars from the west. Six from the north, two lanes open. No detained vehicles.
Five detainees in isolation ("the inspection booth") who immediately ask for water and explain that three of them are drivers who've already been detained for an hour, and the other two young men have been detained for an hour and a half. According to the commander, who came over to politely ask me not to stand near them, but didn't insist, they're detained because they tried to bypass the checkpoint. In response to my saying that they shouldn't be punished, and that the booth is intended to serve security needs, he answered that the matter is not in his hands. I informed the humanitarian center, and D. told me to let them know if they haven't been released three hours from the moment they were detained. She had nothing to say about the injustice of detaining them as "punishment."
The DCO representative didn't want to deal with it either.
The shed is filled with about 100 people, in two lines in front of three inspection booths, and about 50 more on the humanitarian line off to the side. People go through quietly and relatively quickly. University classes began Sunday, and there were already a few students at the exit from Nablus. People waited at the checkpoint about 15-20 minutes.
The x-ray machine wasn't operating.
15:00 Six cars on line leaving Nablus. After a taxi is checked, its passengers are required to return to it "one by one" and are themselves checked. It takes five minutes to check a taxi with four passengers.
Almost no vehicles entering; when one arrives the driver's ID is checked and it goes through without delay.
15:35 It turns out that one of the detainees tried to pass money through the entry turnstile to a friend, and was detained. The second was told that he was a bingo, and then that he isn't a bingo but won't be released, and the three drivers whose spokesman says they parked where the army told them to park, that they're hungry and thirsty and want to go on working. Hagar called the humanitarian center again, and was promised that they'd look into it. On the way to Beit Furik we saw the new paved road from Awarta to the DCO office.
15:50 Beit Furik
No vehicles in either direction. Few pedestrians; the soldiers check them lazily. As they do with the cars, they first finish checking people coming from one direction before beginning to check those coming the other way, and, of course, one by one.
16:30 Back to Huwwara
The detainees are still there, and losing patience. The drivers' spokesman reports for the first time about an argument that broke out between some of the drivers and the army. The background: The drivers parked where they were told, but tried to protect themselves from the sun by putting cartons against the fence, and the soldiers demanded they remove them. The DCO representative explains to us that he can't intervene, he had no idea why they're detained and also didn't want to know. He says they've been detained less than two hours, but also that it happened during the previous shift, and that his shift began between 13:00 and 13:30. In other words, according to him as well they've been there over three hours...Another call to Dana, again with all the details, and she asked me whether I might be with Hagar and whether we're talking about the same five people, or with another quintet...
At this stage there were about 60 people waiting in the shed.
17:00 We left. One of the young men was released.