Huwwara, Sun 30.11.08, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
15:15 Huwwara Checkpoint
DCO representative - Tomer, Checkpoint commander - X
3 active checking posts, X-ray truck, no detainees in the cubicle when we arrive.
As usual at this hour, the waiting lines for young males are not yet over-crowded, but the special side line for women and the elderly is full to bursting.
Men wait between half an hour and an hour, on the average.
The soldier 'securing' the western and middle checking posts stands leaning his gun barrel on the tip of the concrete ledge. As a result, every Palestinian exiting the metal detector and turning to hand his ID to the woman soldier at the middle checking post necessarily misses the soldier's gun barrel by millimeters. If he is a bit more full-bodied than the rest of his very slim mates, there's almost no escaping the added flesh- to-metal touch. Our friend adds sardonically that this is probably done in consideration of the Palestinians, so that whoever passes through must tuck in his belly... (photo among the ones sent separately).
The greater the pressure in the lines, all the more numerous are the uniformed men throughout the checkpoint, but the connection seems more temporal than causal - there's a constantly growing crowd in khaki standing around and debating, discussing, socializing and very mentally busy around the middle area of the vehicle checking posts, while procedures slow down even more.
Naturally, even on this 'quiet' afternoon, the inevitable soldier very quietly approaches the Palestinians busy tucking their shirts back into their trousers and inserting their belts after having completed the search and ID check and found clean - and shoos them away with the eternal "Go on, git!"
16:00 - the lines begin to fill up more densely and pressure rises, from where we stand we cannot see how far back the special side line stretches.
16:30 - hour of the dog - man's best friend in khaki has arrived to make sure there are no explosives in the flat-bread traveling from town to village.
17:20 - back from our visit to Beit Furik Checkpoint, we find Huwwara Checkpoint busier, much noisier than before, 3 young detainees held in the cubicle for having behaved rowdily in the lines. Noa and Judith who stayed here while Tal and our guest went to Beit Furik report that for about ten minutes everything stood still and no Palesitnians were checked while the soldiers were apparently eating (or praying).
We left at 17:45.