Beit Furik, Huwwara, Sun 9.11.08, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
15:00 Za'tara/Tapuach Junction Checkpoint - hardly any cars awaiting inspection.
"A Jewish Soldier Supports Jews, An Arab Cop Supports Arabs"
This is the text appearing on phosphorescent red an green posters posted on army concrete slabs in every major junction in the area and around the army's checkpoint compounds in Tapuach and Huwwara.
15:25 Huwwara Checkpoint
3 active checking posts, active X Ray Truck, DCO rep.- Aasem, active at the special women's children's and elderly's side line, Checkpoint commander - Second Lieutenant Elad.
Both DCO and commander were not accessible to us at any time from where we stood: the DCo constantly busy checking the heavily crowded side line, the commander availed himself to talk with me just before we left, after a soldier agreed to let him know we needed to speak to him, and after having chided me for getting close to the concrete hold cubicle to see and hear for myself the detainee allegedly beaten up by soldiers].
A Palestinian exiting the checking lines, gets very annoyed to read my MW tag:
"Do you have any idea why this checkpoint I here? Do you? Do you really? No. You don't know. The checkpoint is here because Israel is a thief. Change that tag!! It should not read "No to the Checkpoints!" It should read "Why checkpoints??"
No, it's not you and your friends who are thieves. Not the People of Israel. It's the government. Politicians."
16:00 The checking Military Policewomen's shrieks and screeches increase in volume and irritation as the crowd multiplies and grows. As usual lately, so does the ongoing routine of securing soldiers keeping the lines straight and orderly.
16:10 - Across the car check lane, close to the 'humanitarian point', a blue civilian police jeep parks, right behind it, a civilian 'blue' policeman is busy praying devotedly for long moments.
16:11 - a maneuver is announced in Hebrew to Hebrew speakers - looks like a life freeze but only simulated - in other words, the checking routine is halted, and everyone, but everyone, is pushed back and out of the compound.
Then before we can blink an eye, it's over. In other words, the break is over. But then, naturally no one bothers to explain anything to the Palestinians crowding their waiting lines to be checked why suddenly this mayhem. And they don't understand it on their own - yeah, well...
So they get annoyed and shouts are heard from the lines that got all messed up after the soldiers invested all those efforts to keep them neat. Yells, pushes, and within seconds the soldiers are already charging at them, roaring, waving rifles, hoping across concrete ledges to threaten from closer up. A detainee, then another, are led by soldiers in their favorite might-declaring style (strong hand gripping the young man's back of the neck, another soldier pushing his back, a female soldier accompanying them for the inevitable extra gender-culture humiliation). I call up the army hotline to report.
The soldiers now fortify their orchestrated sounds with very shrill whistles besides the usual shouting and screeching.
17:40 - as we get back from our visit to Beit Furik Checkpoint, we are greeted with very concerned international activists who just witnessed a detainee being thrown into the hold and beaten viciously by three soldiers. The special fact in this case, according to them, is that the guy is post-operative in his belly and sounded really suffering. My attempt to exchange words with him in order to verify what I heard finally got the checkpoint commander to approach close enough to chide me for moving away from my usual observation point. Back there, I appealed to a soldier - unusually cooperative - to call the commander over to talk with us.
The commander finally came around and talked, and I must note he was not hostile and sounded a patient explanation that perhaps the detainee was beaten, and he agrees this is out of line, although his soldiers usually do not use physical force, and what when on there was actually a scuttle.
-Scuttle?? Between whom?
Between soldiers and one Palestinian. He tried to catch one of them by the forearm. And that is practically as though he hit a soldier.
Well, in that case...
17:00 Beit Furik Checkpoint
Observers: Judit B., Tal H. (reporting) and our guest
The usual story we hear here for the past month or so: huge numbers of pedestrians waiting unbearably long to cross the checkpoint and get back from Nablus to their villages of Beit Furiq and Beit Dejan. They see us as they come out and explode in anger: "What are you doing here? Why can't these soldiers be talked to? They stand there, a bunch of six soldiers at a time, horsing around and chatting and playing with the nerves of hundreds of people waiting to be inspected and go home at the end of their day." They report an hour or hour and a half waiting time.