'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), יום ה' 12.3.09, בוקר
Translation: Suzanne O.
At Awarta, at the exit from Nablus, there is a queue of tens of cars and it takes an hour and a half to two hours to cross.
At Sha'ar Shomron there is a police roadblock.
The entrance to Marda is open and at Zeita closed as usual.
There is no queue at the crossing.
During the time we were there between 4 and 10 were in the queue from the direction of Nablus and they cross almost without inspection. One lane is open. A bus is in the car park and, before documents are returned, the passengers are taken off. One of them who remember Nava from a previous meeting calls us over and claims that it is discrimination to hold up bus passengers while the other cars cross without any hindrance. It is certainly another way of looking at this harassment...
A car is parked at the side, waiting. The roadblock commander says he "spoke rudely" and "laughed at the soldiers". The punishment is education by waiting... he is released after about 10 minutes.
Cars cross without inspection. There are new speed humps at the exit from Nablus.
There is a queue of tens of cars at the exit from Nablus.
The drivers tell us that it takes about half an hour for cars to cross and two hours for lorries.
We telephoned the humanitarian centre and the Nablus DCO and asked them to intervene. We drove to Huwwara to find the DCO representative.
Two car lanes are open and there are 15 cars in the queue.
There is no queue of pedestrians and very few enter Nablus.
The Palestinians tell us that there is a detainee at the concrete blocks whom we are unable to see.
He spent 10 months in an Israeli prison and was released 6 months ago. The commander says that he is being checked and we, of course, are unable to communicate with him.
The DCO representative, A., says that he was told, via the Op. Room, that there is no queue at Awarta. We try to persuade him to come with us to see but he must not leave Huwwara he is not prepared to give us his telephone number so that we can contact him from there.
Back at Awarta
The commander is very hostile and says that the queue is normal and he is carrying out the necessary inspections - checking the drivers against the 'bingo' list. It turns out that he is the one who reported that everything is OK and there are no problems.
We went along the whole queue and counted 44 cars. Once again we phoned the DCO and asked for the commander. He is not available, he will call us back.
The only assistance we were able to give was to advise an elderly sick man in a car, on his way to Ramallah, to move into the empty VIP queue and we asked the commander to let him through quickly.
Back to Huwwara
The DCO representative says that his commander will not let him leave Huwwara to go and find out what is really happening at Awarta. It appears that S., the DCO officer in charge of Awarta, is ill. We did see him last week running the crossing extremely well and not allowing the soldiers to make too many hold ups.
This is the reason that people have to wait two hours to cross!!! In addition the commander reports to his superiors that everything is fine!!
Finally Abu Rokon from the DCO got back to us. We were already on our way back. We asked him to send a representative to Awarta urgently.
There is no queue at Za'atra.