Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 23.11.08, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
15:00 Tapuach/Za'tara Junction Checkpoint
About 20 cars waiting for inspection, coming from Nablus, other directions empty of vehicles. The shooting post is manned.
Various concrete slabs (belonging to the army) are covered with posters of the Jewish spiritual movement in the West Bank such as "Our dear brothers are in jail - rally to empower them" and "Sign the Samaria convention".
15:15 Huwwara Checkpoint
Checkpoint commander - second lieutenant X, DCO representative - Adham.
2 active checking posts out of 3 for young male pedestrians, X-ray truck active, no dog.
Many many people, hundreds. Waiting time varies between half an hour at the beginning of our shift to over an hour at heavier moments. As usually lately, all the "order-keeping' by the very stressed soldiers and 'educating' the Palestinians constantly. The checkpoint commander hurries over to bicker with us over 30 cm. more or less from the blue line; the Military Policewomen shrieks and vulgar gruffness is insupportable and incessant, and they are obviously a mental wreck. Soldiers are constantly coming over to chase away - with their typical hostile and rude hand gestures and shouts - all the men who stop a moment after coming out of the turnstiles to tuck their shirt back into their trousers and put their belts back on.
We don't seem to be able to explain to our guests why after all the inspecting and checking - these men who are being chased away because sterility must be kept here in a zone "clean of Palestinians" near the soldiers - after all these men have been checked and found "clean", haven't they? So why are they expected to fix themselves up on the stairs and filthy path among the throng on the way to the taxis?
16:30 3 waiting lines for young Palestinian men. In one of them - the furthest east - is much slower, about three times as slow as the two other lines. The reason: a securing soldier shows initiative and lectures very closely and personally to every Palestinian about the essence and reason for checkpoints, because of... (you guessed it!) the Intifada. 4 minutes per listener. Hundreds of people. Figure it out.
At 17:30 we return from our visit to Beit Furik Checkpoint. The lines are still full.
We witness a unique sight: a horse and rider reach the vehicle entrance to Nablus. The soldiers refuse to take the horseman's ID while he sits in his saddle. (He rises high above them). He has to descend and does it very gracefully, hands over his ID, waits at the side, and after some minutes gets it back and enters Nablus.
Close to 18:00 we could bear the MPwomen's screeches no longer and fled, with shame.
16:45 Beit Furiq Checkpoint
Very few pedestrians and cars passing through, rather swiftly, in sharp contrast to the throngs that we witnessed there two and three weeks ago. No detainees.