Beit Iba, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 8.9.08, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Very light traffic, perhaps because it's early (7:30 am). The checkpoint is manned by reservists. They're mainly checking documents. An Israeli man comes over to us for help. He employs three Palestinians. He and they have all the necessary permissions. When he arrived at the checkpoint he went through the lane for Israelis (he called it the lane for Palestinian VIP's!), and was stopped by the soldiers who took his (blue) ID card and told him that he'll be detained for three hours. He was very angry - "What is this - I'm Jewish and Israeli and they take my ID and punish me." We explained the "laws" of the occupation to him, and left him to deal with things on his own.
Beit Iba: (8:45)
Very light pedestrian traffic. Those going to Nablus are mainly pupils and students. Two or three mothers with babies in their arms. Two trucks passed through quickly, and the rest of the vehicle traffic also goes through very fast. The only explanation must be that people are much less busy during Ramadan. The kiosks were closed. The carpentry shop also only opened up about when we left.
The checkpoint is almost empty. Very little vehicle traffic, and the parking lot isn't full. The drivers complained very much - Ramadan is a hard month for them, even though business isn't flourishing the rest of the year either.
Women in Blue and White:
This time they showed up in two cars. One was the small car of the woman in the black hat (I forgot her name), and the other the 4x4 station wagon pulling a trailer. They stopped inside the checkpoint and a huge man came out of the large car, connected an electrical cable to the soldiers' booth, opened one side of the vehicle and turned it into a kiosk. The man stood inside and the soldiers came up to the window to receive the largesse. Lots of hugs and backslapping. There were four other women besides the madwoman and the man in the kiosk. Once again they distributed the handout slandering us to the soldiers, and little flags - white ones this time. They began to move quickly from place to place with the refreshments and the drinks. The soldiers left their "posts" and ran over to the improvised kiosk to enjoy the bounty.
After everyone had finished eating and drinking, it was our turn. The madwoman in the hat came over to us and began running wild. We had decided ahead of time not to get in an argument with her, and deserve a medal for adhering to this. We didn't utter a word. She, on the other hand, gave a real show. Curses (Nazis, madmen, scum, etc.), and a lesson in "history" and in the facts of life. Then she began kicking the wall on our right and on our left. Like a child throwing a tantrum. Then she spit on the wall (not on us, thankfully). Then kicking and cursing again. Meanwhile the reinforcements appeared - the man tried "politely" to convince Yehudit that her behavior was criminal. When English didn't help, they tried Hebrew - and when she got tired another one showed up cursing. Of course they photographed us from every angle. The madwoman in the hat remembered she had met me during an incident in which a boy "carrying pipes" was caught for the benefit of Knesset members, and was home three hours later. She immediately remembered that I was to blame and was encouraging the terrorists. "Human rights - go to India and do your human rights there." "They're not human," etc. The whole performance lasted about an hour. The soldiers, of course, enjoyed it very much - one female MP even felt the need to hug the woman in the hat, but the Palestinians didn't laugh at all. When we left they made sure to tell us they saw it all, and heard, and that they're Nazis. I had the feeling they were afraid something would happen to us.
Tarek, the DCO representative, was the only officer we saw. He stood off to the side and, of course, didn't intervene. When we told him we were planning to complain about him he got scared, and when the women left tried to explain "the facts of life" to us - why the soldiers hate us and love them. The explanation wasn't necessary - we weren't born yesterday (unfortunately). We had intended also to drive to Beit Furik - but since the madmen were on their way there we decided at 12:00 to return home.