Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 16.10.08, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
Two buses carrying Palestinians - men, women and children - in the parking lot. They've been detained since 12:00.
Three men also detained, separately. A soldier with drawn weapon guards them.
The soldiers prevent us from speaking to the passengers, some of whom are standing outside the buses. Photos attached separately.
One of the detainees is taken away in a command car after being handcuffed. A young woman is crying bitterly; people try to comfort her.
Since there's no one at the checkpoint to talk to - we call Z, the DCO commander. He promises to find out what's happening and get back to us. We also notified the humanitarian center. They promised to check.
One bus was released at 15:00.
Before we leave for Huwwara, a soldier tells us they're waiting for an answer from brigade headquarters regarding the release of the second bus, and allows us to get the phone number of one of the passengers.
He said that the detainees held separately are waiting to be picked up.
The lanes for vehicles coming from Nablus are very crowded, the inspections in both lanes are slow. After releasing the first bus all the vehicles were let through without inspections and it became much less crowded. No line formed in the lane for traffic from the west.
15:32 Two Hummers parked near the western entrance to Beita. There's a parking lot there; soldiers apparently took up positions in the long building next to it. Pay attention to that [we went by quickly, and by the time we returned it was already dark].
15:36 Huwwara checkpoint -
Even before we get to the checkpoint, J. tells us that people from the Gil'ad Farm don't allow people from Tel to harvest their olives. He says that 40-50 settlers are firing in their direction, throwing stones, and they do so not only during harvest time. When they contacted the army they were told there wasn't enough manpower for this. He asks for help.[Try to contact Rabbi Asherman?!]
We meet two volunteers from abroad who came from Nablus. They report that there's a line of 18 vehicles. No delays in the line of vehicles coming from Nablus.The X-Ray vehicle has been mooved because a large tractor is leveling the ground where it used to park. T, the DCO representative, says they're going to have three vehicle lanes, like at the Za'tara checkpoint.
Lots of pedestrian traffic going through the shed to the checkpoint. Many students, as usual on Thursday afternoon. They arrange their clothing after going through the magnometer, put documents and possessions back in their pockets. No detainees in isolation. Women, children and elderly men pass through the line off to one side without going through the magnemometer.
15:50 The second bus at the Za'tara checkpoint was released (reported by the passenger whose phone number we took).
We were told that yesterday evening, at about 17:30, soldiers chased a man who went through the checkpoint, caught him, and a soldier hit him with his gun - he was hit in the head, and blood could be seen. No one could come near him because the soldiers pointed their guns at everyone else. They didn't know the name of the man who had been hit. [We asked that, in such cases, they find out who it is and notify Machsom Watch's hot line. From their description we can guess that the soldier doing the hitting was Ethiopian].
16:48 The volunteers from abroad report on their way back to Nablus that 19 vehicles are waiting on line to be checked leaving Nablus.
16:55 Beit Furik checkpoint -
T, the DCO representative, is helping move vehicles through in two lanes. Later he leaves. There's still crowding in the lane of vehicles leaving Nablus. We were able to learn [with the help of the guest carrying a foreign passport] that 15 vehicles leaving Nablus are waiting to be checked. Pedestrians leaving Nablus wait 10 minutes on line. A man going to Beit Furik asks, "How come the situation at the checkpoint is good today?"
17:42 Za'tara - 20 vehicles waiting in the lane coming from Nablus, going south.