'Awarta, 'Azzun, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 17.3.09, Afternoon
We visited Azzun Atma, Beit Furik, Awarta and were told that the checkpoint at Sara-Kotzin this last week had been taken down.
Azzun Atma. 12 20.
The new checkpoint with the tower and provisional cement blocks. 3 policeman man the place and another jeep with captains arrives together with another army car. The gate is closed and cars and people and children passing through have to show a permit and an ID which shows that they are residents of Azzun Atma.
We tried to find out if we could get to the southern gate which encloses the village. We were told that for that we had to ask for special permission from the battalion and that the police were only there until the soldiers came. The police were aware of our complaints about the transfer of food in sufficient quantities to the residents living across the road/checkpoint and said that " we are only not allowed to pass through commercial quantities of goods...because maybe the tomatoes in boxes are poisoned." There were hardly any people going through the checkpoint.
Sha'ar Ephraim. We see people in blue uniforms and phosphorescent shields on which is written Ministry of Defence.
Zeita Jama'in is closed.
Za'tara at 13.10 3 cars in the direction of Nablus but no line.
We check the area for rifle practice which is widening opposite. . Arab tractor drivers say that in another week they will finish this. When we ask who owns the land he says, " We do not know but who can go against the army."
Beit Furik. 13.30
3 soldiers check most of the cars entering and exiting. They come to find out about us. At the same moment cars press on the gas and go through without taking notice of the soldiers. They say that they have been checking since the attack in the Jordan valley two days ago. One of them says that according to intelligence maybe they were killed because he had allowed terrorists to leave Nablus. He feels that he did not carry out his duty......it seems to us that the checking that was being carried out but because of too much motivation caused by feelings of guilt because at Huwwara and Asam the DCO were surprised at the procedures.
At the car lane there were only two soldiers checking on line of cars very carefully.
34 cars waiting in line and that drivers said they had been there an hour to an hour and a half. All the large vehicles were sent back to go through Awarta.
At the pedestrian crossing a handcuffed man was put into the isolation. About 10 owners of kiosks were gathered next to the cell and waiting for their sentence. Amongst them lads who are our friends. The handcuffed man said that he had been caught in the morning trying to knock down a soldier who had motioned him to stop. He was waiting to be taken away by the police. The soldiers were busy with him the whole time. To take him to the toilet, bring him things and to pass through the medicines which he had with him.
3 lines are checked. The humanitarian line goes through quickly. Two other lines slowly. The people are called out first from one line and then from the other and so it takes a specially long time. Today they have been waiting two hours. When we ask A. about the slowness he said that all the military police have gone for a special training session and so there is not enough manpower.
After some time Z. from the DCO arrives and gathers the owners of the kiosks to give them an educational lecture and to free them. He says that they make a big mess and disturb the cars which are parked. He has had 100s of complains and is worried that an old man or woman may fall and break a leg.
He is proud to tell us that yesterday while they were dismantaling Beit Iba CP, "taxis drivers blocked our way because of that" as a protest against the prevention of their making a livelihood that day. He was glad to tell us that the following day the checkpoint of Sara-Kuchin would be taken down.
A Palestinians appealed to us. B. S. said that he had difficulties getting a permit to take his four year old child to a follow up/hospitalization at Wolfson after an operation. Today he had had to be there with the child and the DCO had said that he was security refused and would not give him an answer. He already knows all the procedures. Dalia Bassa does not answer and we turn to Hanna B. who very quickly managed to find out all the details and to deal with the problem and give B.S. an answer. Another man stands near the checkpoint of the cars and says that his friend was caught and kept there all day. We get A. to deal with the problem.
15.30 We go back.