Huwwara, Sun 8.2.09, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
Tapuach-Za'tara Junction Checkpoint 15:15
No detainees as we pass, 19 cars waiting to be checked, coming from Nablus area.
Huwwara Checkpoint 15:40
At the pedestrian checkpoint theater the usual program is on. One male voice of a Military Policeman booms out of one of the loudspeakers frequently ordering the men to move back, "One by one, go on, don't get on my nerves!" but there are relatively less screeches coming from the MPwomen this time.
One detainee in the concrete cubicle, his number having appeared on the Security Services lists.
Beyond the entry turnstile taxi drivers flock around pedestrians coming into town to struggle over potential fares, and the soldiers repeatedly come around and force them away.
At 16:15, three of these drivers are detained for 'educational' purposes, to be released an hour and a half later.
At the exiting vehicles checking post the situation is exhausting as usual, cars wait an hour and a quarter (average), checked on two lanes. The checks are slow, a sniffer-dog enters some of the cars. The soldiers send back to Awarta Checkpoint every single truck or commercial van even when obviously empty.
A halting dialogue is held by a MP and taxi passengers for close to 15 minutes, and only then does the soldier summon the DCO representative who solves the problem in two minutes and the taxi gets on its way.
Vendors tell us that before the Chief of Staff's visit a wild cleaning project was carried out in the taxi park - by soldiers, drivers and vendors alike - and now there's a kind of 'truce'...
18:00 The waiting lines dwindled and so did our energy, and we took to the road back to our parallel universe, our ears still echoing with the voice of a man who approached us to ask, angrily, why the soldiers crack up with laughter when he shows them his ID through the armored glass window of the checking booth.
Nausea. Homeward bound.