Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 26.10.08, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
15:00 Tapuach Za'tara Junction Checkpoint rather empty as usual lately.
5 vehicles southbound waiting to be checked.
15:15 Huwwara Checkpoint
3 active checking posts, special side line for women children and elderly crowded and moving.
Active X-ray truck, as well as sniffer-dog and trainer. Concrete cubicle for detainees - empty.
DCO representative - Adam, most of the time out of our communication reach.
Checkpoint commander - Second lieutenant X, same.
From the ridiculous distance where we are allowed to stand vigil, everything looks rather quiet today, no special incidents transcending the monstrous routine. Screeching Dina the MPwoman is conspicuously absent and quiet prevails. Men report waiting between half an hour and an hour.
Vehicles entering Nablus are checked slowly but not turned back, Most of the time.***
We did not make it to Beit Furik Checkpoint, however, because in spite of the said "quiet", we had a special episode, and from here on dedicate our report to *** -
Laws, world order and chemotherapy.
Laws: Yellow (Israeli/East Jerusalem) license-plate bearing vehicle may never enter Nablus. Period.
World Order: District Coordinating Office/r between the law (Israeli army) and the Palestinians
Chemotherapy: Even in Palestine people sometime fall victim to cancer and are treated with chemotherapy in hospitals distant from their homes, requiring them to travel to and fro, in their severe condition.
Final Scene: Darkness falls, cold, a chilly wind blows and even we shiver, although less from cold and more at the sight of six cancer patients trying to stand, hardly able to, nearly tripping, in the middle of the road on the separation line between the entering and exiting lanes of vehicles being checked, waiting, waiting until an ambulance would arrive.
The Story: a van arrived bearing yellow license plates and six cancer patients returning to their homes in Nablus or to the hospital there (because their homes are further north), having had chemotherapy treatment in Augusta Victoria Hospital, East Jerusalem. The driver is refused in spite of showing the soldiers a medical certificate and telling them and us that he does this transport daily and without any problems. He leaves to try his luck in Awarta. No go. Comes back. Pulls to the side and turns to us.
The Checkpoint commander and DCO junior officer representative know of his presence but show no willingness to look into the matter or solve anything. From afar.
Time passes. We call the DCO senior officer in the area. Who also arrives. He is aware of the situation and announces that this driver is actually a felon time and again and has not arranged the paperwork as it should be done and that's that. This time he will learn his lesson. The cancer patients' suffering is on the driver's head. Let him know. This whole episode takes about an hour.
With all his good will, the senior DCO - known far and wide for his accessibility and readiness to solve problems - sticks to the letter of the "law", and summons a Nablus ambulance for the patients' further travel. Their driver who in the meantime has been presented as a con man decides he's had enough, orders the patients out of his car and leaves. The ambulance does not arrive, and luckily another ambulance arrives from the south, picks up the six miserable patients and proceeds into town. That's the whole of it.
Ah, yes. Can't part without some 'discipline' work: three boys are detained in the cubicle for having made merry in the waiting lines. The DCO appeals to the commander at our request, who in turn promises him to release them within 5 minutes. 10 minutes later, as we must leave, no one has yet been released to go anywhere. We report to world order accordingly.