'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 8.1.09, Morning
Translation: Hanna K.
06:25 - At the Samaria gate there is no police.
06:40 - Marda - both entrances are open. At Zeita, as usual, the entrances are closed.
06:45 - Za'tara - there are 3 cars from the west. From the direction of Nablus there is only one lane open, but they let people pass without checking them. There are about 10 cars are waiting but they pass quickly.
06:55 - Beita - opposite the entranace stands a jeep and stops taxis. When we enter the parking area next to the taxi another military police jeep arrives and chases us away by means of a loudspeaker. We decided to stop there again on our way back.
07:00 - Huwwara - There are 2 lanes open at the vehicles passage, but the checking is performed idly. All the passengers are made to leave the vehicle, they have to open their coats and to lift the shirt and the trouser legs. The Palestinians complain that cars are waiting an hour to an hour and a half for the passage.
The entrance to Nablus, as usual lately, is absolutely free. The pedestrians' shed is packed full and even beyond it, as we haven't seen for a long time at these morning hours. There are two lanes open, as well as the humanitarian one. We see women in the rear part of the shed. The Palestinians complain about a waiting period of an hour and a half. Again all the men must perform the "Checkpoint Dance" - they arrive at the wicket to hand in the papers, retreat 2 meters, open the coat, lift the shirt and the vest, bend to life the trouser legs and come back to the wicket.
The booth for the checking of women has been transferred to the new CP. Does anybody know if there is anything at the rear part where there was the detention cabin. Naturally we couldn't see.
The CP commander sends us to observe from the entrance to Nablus. We see that the brigadier commander's letter, prohibiting our presence in the area is still stuck to the checking post. Small stalls for coffee and cigarettes emerge in a way that they can retreat and be closed in a matter of seconds when need arises.
07:30 - The car post is closed. The commander says that the Palestinians in the queue quarreled amongst themselves and as a means of punishment he closed the passes. Two minutes later it is opened again.
07:40 - Awarta - in the queue there are two trucks and five private cars (seemingly VIPs.)
07:45 - Beit Furik - there are three soldiers on the spot but the passage is free.
08:00 Back at Huwwara. We mounted in the direction of the Mount of Blessing to see the car queue. There are thirty cars waiting and only one lane is open. According to a simple calculation, even if each car will be checked for 2 minutes only the last car will have to wait for an hour. This confirms what the Palestinians said about a waiting period of over an hour.
At the pedestrians' passage the queue is considerably shorter and it fills up "only" a third of the shed. The women pass virtually without waiting at the humanitarian queue. A major whom we met there and who agreed to talk to us, said that he arrived on the spot and saw to it that the passage be sped up considering special needs (he transferred to beginning of the queue a man who said that somebody had died and that he needed to go home).
08:25 - a second car lane is opened.
08:30 - A jeep opposite Beita still stops taxi and writes down on a form the particulars of the passengers. When we asked what the purpose of this was the soldier claimed that this was very important - "do you know how many knives we caught this was and how many terrorists we stopped here?".....the forms are, of course, passed on for checking, but he doesn't know how checks and what is being done with the details.
08:40 - Za'tara - there is no queue from Nablus.
We see here the last innovation. Two soldiers stand in front of the square, on the right side. Across the road there lies a cable and we see that it is connected on the left side of the road to a row of spikes. If somebody should try to escape from the CP one could pull the spikes quickly and stop him.