Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 15.2.09, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
7:25 Za'tara: 6 vehicles from the west, about 20 from the north.
7:30 Beita: A Border Police jeep is parked on the other side of the road to the village, facing it.
A Palestinian who's come through the inspection calls our attention to the fact that one of the soldiers in the inspection booth is asleep. We tell the checkpoint commander, who defends her, says she's worked hard for many hours with no sleep. Listens to what we have to say and our views about the occupation, says there are a range of opinions and its important to listen to what everyone has to say, agrees that the situation of the Palestinians is terrible and doesn't like serving at the checkpoint.
About 50 people waiting at the turnstiles.
8:20 Many people going to Nablus. About 20 people crowding at the turnstile into the city.
A church volunteer standing near us notices a disabled person on the line, talks to the commander who opens the gate for handicapped persons; the other people who waited for the turnstile also take the opportunity to go through. It isn't clear why that gate is closed, just like many other much more serious things about the checkpoint and the occupation aren't clear.
8:40 We time how long people spend at the checkpoint. A young man waited 23 minutes.
9:05 Another man waited 35 minutes.
Anyone carrying a package has to open it and remove its contents for inspection. The designers of this fenced monster - the checkpoint - who invested so much of our tax money on it, made sure our soldiers are secure, but forgot the fact that the checkpoint is supposed to allow Palestinians to go through. They built narrow counters that haven't enough room to put things on them. In order that the contents of the package doesn't fall on the ground, the person being inspected has to manipulate it, lean his body forward to keep it on the counter and doesn't always succeed in preventing things from falling. It doesn't seem that the planners did so maliciously, just stupidly and without thinking of the Palestinians as human beings who are worthy of consideration.
9:35 A smaller number of people waiting at the checkpoint - about 40 now.
A station wagon carrying merchandise to Nablus is inspected. Other cars enter freely.
Vehicles leaving Nablus are inspected quickly, one or two minutes per car, but there are still many cars; we counted about 30 on line. One inspection lane, about 5 soldiers next to it. We ask the DCO representative to open a second lane. That's not possible; only MP's can conduct the inspection, but the soldiers standing there aren't MP's! (How could we have even considered making such an absurd suggestion!) We talked to A., the checkpoint commander, who promised to see whether an additional lane could be opened.
10:00 Awarta: About 20 trucks on line.