Beit Furik, Huwwara, Sha`ar Shomron (Qasem), Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 1.12.08, Afternoon
Crossroads of Za'tara/Tapuach. 14.20
2 cars with a Palestinian number being checked from the west. From the north 7 cars. No checking in other directions.
Beit Furik. 14.40
A large group of women with big parcels and children walk from the checkpoint to the parking lot. Those entering Nablus are not checked and those coming out are checked randomly. The soldiers already from a distance warn us not to come closer to the turnstiles. We stay at the end of the cement wall and meet M. who called our attention that the division between the two lanes of the road has been removed. And he says that if the army will not return them and renew the division he himself will do it with his own hands. He "complains" that the passage at the checkpoint is too easy and simple.
At the parking lot we got another explanation. The taxi drivers showed us a new gate which had been put up the previous day and are open in the direction of Beit Furik, Beit Deg'an. At the DCO the Palestinians said that they had been told that the existing checkpoint will be removed and there will be a free passage in the direction of Nablus as there is to Shave Shomron. The problem is that the gate is closed at night. There will be soldiers at the sentry tower but there may be problems. All this they say is guessing but the new gate in the direction of Beit Furik and the removal of the stones on the road makes us think that this may be correct. From the large line young girls come out one of them holding a plastic bag on which is written in Hebrew, "the new age".
T., the DCO representative explain why only one of the manometers is working. the others are being removed to the new structure of the CP. SO people wait an hour in the line.
Two checkers on both sides of the magnometer pass people from both sides and another line is checked by a soldier who lifts the shirts of the men and a woman soldier.
When we arrived there was one detainee, A "bingo" and he is used to it. He is freed quickly and then two who quarreled while standing in line and exchanged blows were detained. Both are put into the cell and T. says that he gave them an educational lecture and calmed them down. Another student was put into the cell. He was pushed in by the commander, Y., and another soldier who knocked him on his forehead with the edge of his helmet. The man who spoke some English and also later on T. said that he had been standing at the side of the queue and a soldier had suspected that he was pushing in and had pushed him. The man had argued which annoyed the soldier and so he and the commander had pushed him into the cell. We stood next to the cell and saw the pushing and the blow. The commander who saw us started to shout at us to leave and said that we were forbidden to stand and speak to the detainees. We answered that we could do so and we ask to speak to him. He said he would come out to us but we waited an hour and he did not do so. It turned out that he had managed to photograph us before he identified himself. There was no possibility of explained to him about the injustice that had been done and to ask the name of the soldier who had hit him. Not that we believe that we would have succeeded but at least to try.
The cell at Huwwara is a dark hole and the man said he was cold, that he had been unjustly treated and that if he was kept for three hours as T. said the commander could he would fight against us. We tried time and again to calm him. His friends sent him cigarettes and drink. Y. sent us off but did not come out to speak to us.
Many people leaving Nablus asked us what we could do and we admitted that we were helpless. An elderly man who came out, pointed to my notebook, shouted something I could not understand in Arabic and went off. We left when T. promised that if we did so he would see to emptying the cell.
The Samariya passage. 17.20
Two Israeli Arabs and a soldier with a kippah got into a fight. A military policewoman tried to calm the Arabs down. Immediately all the checkpoints were closed to those going west. We asked what was happening and one of the Arabs said that the soldier had hit his friend because "we are Arabs."
The checkpoint was opened when things had calmed down a bit.