'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), יום ה' 19.3.09, בוקר
We met Tzvia and Rachel there.
Translation: Suzanne O.
The entrance to Zeita is barred; the entrance to Marda is open.
There are five vehicles in the queue in front of the junction from the west. When we neared the roadblock an officer came over to us, the roadblock commander, who requests that we not approach the roadblock and starts to say defensively that they are people and we are people (meaning Jews and Palestinians) and it is not pleasant to do what they do (the soldiers) but there is no alternative and it has to be done to avoid terrorist attacks, because there are some of them who want to hurt and kill us and that is why there are roadblocks. The unit is new at the roadblock; the soldiers are in course of a paratrooper commando course.
Vehicles are inspected randomly. There are over 20 vehicles in the queue from the direction of Nablus; three lanes are functioning and the inspection is quick.
At the entrance to the junction, from the west, there is a detainee. We go over to him and he speaks Hebrew, tells us that he left his ID card at home - it was in the pocket of his shirt and he forgot to take it out when he changed his clothes. He is waiting for someone from home to bring his card so that he can continue on his way; he is going to the market.
There was no longer a queue either from the west or from Nablus.
There is a build up of vehicles into a queue again from the direction of Nablus.
A police vehicle is parked at the junction of the road in the direction of Nablus and stops a private vehicle and a motor bike at the side of the road. By the time we got over there the motor cycle had already been released. We stood on the pavement by the vehicle, a few metres from the policeman and his vehicle. The policeman comes over to us and shouts at us very aggressively warning us not to interfere with his work, and if we should do so he will hold us at the police station. I go over to the police driver of the vehicle and ask if it is possible to ask him a question and he responds rudely, no. Meanwhile Rachel goes over to the passengers and wishes them good morning, they sit as if paralysed by fear and do not reply to her.
We do not understand why the vehicles are detained. A few minutes later another vehicle is detained. When the policeman moves away from them Rachel goes over and asks how they are. The policeman sees her and shouts loudly at us, claiming that we are not permitted to speak with anyone he detains and because of these kinds of things policemen have been killed. Hysterical and disturbed. After an exchange between us he demands to see my ID card, I pass it to him and he notes the details.
A jeep is parked at the entrance to Beita and another one at the side of the road, on the incline, in the village.
There are 8 cars in the queue and there is no queue of pedestrians. There are no stalls at the roadblock - the soldiers drove all the stall holders out. The DCO representative claims that these are the directions, on the orders of the Brigade Commander. No one knows the reason, various explanations fly around - bad hygiene, unpaid taxes, they all sound like unfounded excuses.
A small coffee stall is at the back of the car park, far from the soldiers' view. Even so, they find him, and two jeeps arrive (one military and one Border Police) with 7 soldiers to get rid of him. The stallholder hides from them and they do not find him. (Attached are photographs that Rachel took of the stall and the soldiers ready to get rid of it.)
Tzvia and Rachel who met us there stay and monitor what is happening, Rachel and I continue on our course.
There is a very long queue of lorries. We count over 20 cars as far as we can see (up to the bend in the road) and the queue continues after the bend too. The lorry drivers report on waiting time of between one and two hours. When we say that the situation is bad to the DCO representative he laughs and says that it is good compared to what went on this morning, and as soon as the soldiers finish their breakfast the queue will reduce.
Two lorries are detained as punishment for driving on the road forbidden to Palestinians. One driver lives in Ramallah, his elderly mother sits next to him and he tells us that they are on their way to his sick brother who has just had surgery in hospital, he was not aware that they were forbidden to driver on the road. The second driver also claims that he didn't know. We turned to the DCO representative who said that he hadn't noticed that they had been detained, "so it's lucky you are here", and a few minutes later he released both of them.
There are about 20 people in the pedestrian queue. The stall had been banished, and when we returned we found it once again, this time further away from the roadblock, at the entrance to the car park. The vehicle queue is long, there are about 30 vehicles.
Three soldiers walk round the roundabout in front of the roadblock.
A Border Police jeep is parked at the side of the road.
There are 37 vehicles in the queue.
Marda and Zeita