Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 27.10.08, Afternoon
We stopped at the blocked entrance to Zeita - Jamma'im. We noticed how the army had places the rocks around the blockage so that cars could not get through in any way. The blockage has been there since 2007. People in the village asked us until when this will be and of course we had no answers for them. A car arrived and we saw how heavy objects are brought to the village. Two cars come in reverse to the blocked area and then the objects are taken from the baggage compartments and passed over "back to back."
The olive season is in full swing and we see those picking in the groves. People complain that the army does not allow them to pick close to the road. The army says this is for security reasons. It is not clear what danger these pickers represent.
13.00 Za'tara CP.
Hardly any cars in either direction. Reserve soldiers at the checkpoint. A bus arrived from the north (Huwwara) . All the IDs are collect and the soldier checks while the bus has to drive into the parking area. After it stops the soldier hands the IDs back to the driver.
13.35 Huwwara CP.
The building of the new checkpoint is going ahead rapidly. The areas on both sides of the checkpoint are being prepared from the West. There are about 100 people in the lines at all times. Young men say that it takes between 30 minutes to an hour to pass. The military policewomen insist that the line of young men begins far from the turnstile beyond an imaginary line which they are forbidden to pass. Fom time to time they stop the checking and shout at people to go back. The rain begins to come down and people standing outside the shed push to get in. So the line is pushed forward. The soldiers stop the checking and shout at the people to go back. This evening though the line is not only 20 metres away from them and also far from the checkpoint. Again and again we see cars being turned back and not allowed into Nablus. This ends when the DCO representative joins the soldier who is checking.
We meet Swedis-Norwegian-Dutch journalists who interview Macky. The soldiers try to prevent them from photographing. They try to photograph the line of those standing and the commander rushes forward shouting "You may not photograph the line." We explain to him that they have no connection with any line and that they can go into any area of the checkpoint according to army regulations. In the end an army spokesman from the brigade is called in to accompany them.
15.25 Beit Furik.
A taxi driver tells us that at 5am when the workers arrive one of them had evidently said something to one of the soldiers checking and as a result the checkpoint had been closed for half an hour. When they open there was an enormous line and the checking had been very slow. We go up to the checkpoint and see that on the cement blocks is a sign which says "The stand of Machsomwatch' far from the checkpoint. See the photo. ON the other side someone had written "Death to the Arabs" and someone had tried to wipe it out. Other new additions to the checkpoint are the place of detention which is fenced in with barbed wire (see the photo).
At the checkpoint are 10s of people waiting to exit Nablus. There are about 10 cars. When we arrive the soldiers do everything they can to send us off but in the end we are allowed to stand for some minutes and this is regarded as being very decent on their part. The soldiers do not understand what our problem is and ask if we want that they should not check them. They cannot understand that at the end of a day of work people want to go home without going through a checkpoint.
16.30 A little to the north of the entrance of the village of Zeita is an army jeep which is stopping to check cars at a rolling checkpoint.