Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), יום ש' 24.1.09, בוקר
Translation: Suzanne O.
There is no roadblock. 'Monitoring the situation' is done by the regular coffee vendor who, without the usual queues, is practically unable to make a living.
There are a lot of cars both from the north to the south and from the west to the east. The inspection is cursory and the traffic moves quite quickly. Bus passengers alight in the vicinity and undergo a thorough inspection. The abbreviated lists of course cause long delays. Some of the soldiers are reservists who are still 'learning' the profession and this causes still further delays.
The queue of cars from Nablus is 'as long as your arm'. We climbed the hill leading to Har Bracha and, from there, saw that there were at least 50 cars in the queue, but it is more than likely that there were more. According to our calculations the crossings took over three quarters of an hour. The inspection itself took about five minutes. The pedestrian crossing, not the one via the 'humanitarian', took about half an hour, via the 'humanitarian' just a few minutes.
A Palestinian policeman is locked in the detainees' hut. We were opposite the car check point and discovered the man from the movement of the soldiers around the position. We were able to make out a soldier kicking a bag lying on the ground near the position and saw the guard standing with his weapon at the ready opposite the opening. It was difficult to decide whether our telephone calls did the business, but immediately after we had complained twice the man was released. We were now 'honoured' by a visit from the roadblock commander, a polite 2nd lieutenant, who demanded that we move away to the place where it was agreed we are permitted to stand. We refused, without getting into an argument, and suggested that he call the police. This all took place in a 'pleasant' atmosphere without anyone raising voices or becoming irritable. The officer left and after a while sent the DCO representative to us who warned us that if we didn't move the roadblock would be closed. We were not impressed and didn't move - and nothing happened. 'Normal' life continued and we performed our task.
Groups of taxi drivers gathered at the crossing after the turnstiles leading to Nablus trying to drum up business before people reach the car park at the northern side of the roadblock and they tried to involve us in disputes between them and between them and the army. We again spelt out that we are unable to intervene in their internal disputes.
The market is growing - although all on barrows which can be moved away quickly.
The issue of the beating at the roadblock of a few days ago still arouses strong feelings among the people and the victim's brother related the incident to us in great detail.
Nothing to report, apart from friendly waves from the passing cars. What horrendous scenes of suffering we have seen there over the course of years - incredible.
The queue of cars is still very long and movement very slow. There is no change at the pedestrian crossing.
It is fortunate that a short woman like me does not have to cross the roadblock because it is doubtful if I could raise a bag to the soldier's window sill. The picture of men emptying their bags onto a small area at an unreasonable height is as humiliating as it could be. Every piece of underwear and every other intimate article lying there on the window sill at an unreasonable height and accompanied by the screams of the female soldiers - 'the texture of life' is totally amazing. Is there no end to the humiliating inventions? Obviously - actually why obviously - the men get dressed on their way out of the roadblock. We are all spectators to the removal of belts, the undoing of trousers to tuck in shirts, the zipping up of flies - and all, all in front of the world and its wife. Dreadful!
The shift began at 6:30 a.m. and returned at 12:00 p.m.