Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 23.10.08, Afternoon
13.40 Sha'ar Shomron.
No checking in the direction of the occupied territories. Along the road from Sha'ar Shomron to the east groups of workers, about 50, are walking. We stopped next to one of the groups, They had been stopped in the morning in Israel as illegal workers and kept for seven hours by the police. Afterwards they had been brought to Sha'ar Shomron where they had been detained for half an hour and freed. Because this is an apartheid road there is no Palestinian transportation and they were walking to A-Azawiyah ..about 10 kilometre from there where they would look for a taxi. There were workers from Jenin amongst them , from Nablus and other places further away from the north of the occupied territories. The whole week they had worked hard as slaves of the people of Israel and now had been thrown down to somehow make their way home.
At Marda both entrances are open.
Zeita.The entrance is blocked with a high mound of ground and rubbish and each time that we pass there there is another blockage which is added. The gate is open but it does not matter as the road is blocked.
14.05 Za'tara/Tapuach CP.
The crossroads are closed to all (including settlers) because of a road accident one kilometer to the north. 2 Israeli cars and one Palestinian. There has been a delay of an hour and a half until the road was reopened. Afterwards the settlers were first let through and then the hundreds of Palestinian cars...the Lords of the Land have right of way.
When we arrived there was great pressure. Even at the turnstile to Nablus were about 50 people and even without checking their way is blocked by this same turnstile. Two people go in together and get stuck. Everyone gives advice on what to do, from, back and this goes on until finally they are freed from the monster.
Many people wait from the direction of Nablus and the occupied territories. The lines move slowly and not so much because of the checking but because of the exercises of order which are carried out on those waiting. Each time that someone of the 100s did something to disturb the order (did not keep quite, sat on the cement blocks which separate the lanes, pushed or laughed ) the soldier stopped the passage for some minutes, sometimes even up to 10. A military policewoman surpassed them all. Not only stopping the checking every two minutes but then as a sort of a game stopping the checking each time we passed the blue line (without telling us anything so it took time before we understood that the Palestinians were behaving "nicely" and we were the cause of the delay.
The turnstiles have been built so that there should be no contact between the soldiers and the many waiting Palestinians and here now two soldiers stood in the passage directly in contact with those waiting, physically pushing them with shouts of "back, back" and sending those waiting about 15 metres from the turnstiles. The entire time there were confrontations between the soldiers who were pushing the those waiting. The latter every now and again burst out in shouts of protest and "Allah is great."
We did not see what goes first but from afar where we stood we heard shouts of anger and saw a block of people, a commotion, felt the tension and saw that the soldiers pulled out 3 young men from the line and put them into the isolation but we have no idea why. We were also not allowed to approach the isolation.
The humanitarian lines was divided in two. Women and the old. These were passed through in turn and the line was not much less than that of the line of men, about an hour to an hour and a half. We saw some old people who were allowed to pass on the road but did not know if this was the rule or if this was by whim of the soldier at that moment.
Those who came through told us that the men waited about an hour to an hour and a half. A young man passed the shed and tried to get to the soldier who is standing next to the turnstile. He was frightened (and rightly so) and came forward slowly, hesitantly. When he got to a place where the soldier could hear him he tried to say something to him. He seemed to be begging and the soldier shouted at him and drove him back. The young man tried again and I heard him saying "Just one moment, just one word." He waved a document he held. From where we were we heard nothing but the shouting of the soldier. He withdrew while his face still begged of the soldier. In the middle of the line he begged those waiting and they allowed him into the line. He explained again and within a few minutes got to the top of the line. There must have been a reason as otherwise people would not have let him pass. The soldier called him forward and then grabbed him by the neck and sent him Without listening back to the end of the line. Again we had no idea of what was said. Maybe he was ill and had to get to a doctor, maybe someone in his family was dying. Who cares? Who will listen to him? He is a Palestinian.
Two military policewomen stood at the two posts and called to one another in loud voices the bingo numbers. Again a young boy was sent back but we do not know why.
An art student came up to us and asked about Yehudiet L. whom he said was a friend of his and had given her a painting. Her friends crowded around us and shook our hands, laughing with admiring glances. It is Yehudiet they admire, not me, but I am her representative.
15.30 A loaded bus came from Nablus and the passengers alighted and their IDs were taken in two parts by two different soldiers. Afterwards they were sent to have their parcels checked by the x-ray machine. 4 soldiers were busy with another bus and one of the soldiers who was checking the pedestrians also joined them so that now the line was even slower than before and nearly came to a stop as only one soldier was left. It took 40 minutes to check the occupants of the bus, a routine check which caused even longer lines of pedestrians and cars for whom there is only one lane to exit Nablus.
16.20 Beit Furik.
No pressure and no long lines at entrance or exit. No detainees. Only the commander who rushed up to us to tell us not to dare to come near the checkpoint. Past the white line.
We went back to see the three detainees who had been put into the isolation at 15.40.
They were still there with two more detainees. The father of one of the men had arrived and begged us to free his son and afterwards went to the commander who shouted at him and said that his son was a liar and the father submissively agreed. But he asked him to forgive him because the boy was young. His son had forgotten his ID and therefore had said to the soldiers that he was not yet 16 and that he did not have an ID. They sent him back and then he had phoned his father to bring him the ID which he had and the son again stood in the line. When he got to the soldier the latter identified him as the young man who had said that he was not yet 16. This insulted the soldier's pride and he had put him into the isolation. We phoned the "humanitarian centre" who said that they would check.
In the meantime two young men arrived. The one looked older and the second have an ID for inspection. They were sent back to Nablus. We thought that the younger one had no ID and had been sent back to Nablus to bring one of his parents ( because "they steal many children" as had been said to us by K. of the DCO last week) But we do not know for sure and just guess.
Because we could not speak to the detainees we gave them our phone number and left at 17.15 as we wanted to get to Azzun Atma. The father of the detainee also left evidently realizing he could not help his son. The detainees did not phone so we do not know what happened to them.