'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Fri 28.11.08, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
8:40 Infrastructure work on the road to Ariel; a new plaza under construction.
8:50 Za'tara junction - no cars.
9:00 An APC at the entrance to Huwwara.
9:10 Beit Furik -
A soldier yells at us when we arrive not to cross the line.
The checkpoint is empty. More soldiers that usual this morning.
A group of soldiers gathers around us, accuse us of caring only about the Arabs but not about the soldiers, and argues with us, including pearls like the following:
"As far as I'm concerned, if he [the Palestinian] blows himself up, he's not human."
"I'm not getting 35 days in jail for some Arab, son of a bitch."
"You hate Jews."
Vehicles entering aren't inspected. Most of the soldiers stood around arguing with us about whether their presence here is necessary, about Palestinian attacks on the "Gid'onim" undercover unit, about Gaza and about Sderot.
They told us to go home and cook (after all, today's Friday), they told us to go live in Sderot, to go talk to victims of terrorism.
9:30 Awarta -
A plaza is under construction at the entrance to Awarta, and the road is also being redone. The entire area of the checkpoint is empty, except for the soldiers. Even the Palestinian who usually sits in the improvised stall isn't there.
9:35 Huwwara -
Construction of the new checkpoint continues apace, fences all around it, and the new inspection booths are already in place. Inspections are conducted at the old checkpoint. There's a dog handler, and the x-ray machine is operating. No detainees. Much traffic. There appear to be more soldiers than usual at the checkpoint. One humanitarian lane, and one lane to the turnstiles.
A bus with children and youths on their way from Nablus to watch a soccer game stands at the entrance to the checkpoint. The passengers are taken off to be checked. After the bus stands there for about half an hour, the children are called over one by one, and they run over to stand in front of a few soldiers, lift their shirts, pull up their pants cuffs and quickly get back on the bus.
9:45 The bus and passengers are allowed to continue. We hear the passengers drumming and singing as they pass.
A group of Palestinian youths, members of a political organization headed for Na'alin, undergo inspection at the checkpoint.
The magnometer beeps and most of the people going through routinely remove their belts, watches, keys, coats (winter has arrived).
A Palestinian says to us, bitterly, "You see?" Another Palestinian gives us a "V" sign with his fingers.
10:15 The bus going to the soccer game arrived at the Za'tara checkpoint and stopped in the parking lot.