Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 12.4.09, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
14:55 Za'tara/Tapuach Junction Checkpoint
The sniper posts at the side of the junction and in its middle are unmanned. 12 vehicles are waiting to be checked, coming from the Nablus area.
15:15 Huwwara Checkpoint
Active X-ray truck, as well as sniffer-dog and trainer.
As we arrive, we witness the following: A Palestinian taxi about to enter Nablus flies colorful flags at the sight of which many of the people around applaud and seem very happy. Soldiers grab the delinquent flag being waved out the window and throw it back into the cab, order the cab to turn back, put on their helmets, and close the iron gate barring all further vehicle movement into town. (So!) Immediately the compound is filled with the 'here we go, some action!' vibes.
Five minutes later, helmets are removed, the iron gate is opened, and traffic resumes.
The 'flagged' cab passes and just at that moment once again the flag is waved out the window, and people cheer...
A soldier grabs it again, but now at the intervention of the DCO representative it is returned to the passengers who merrily get on their way.
What was this all about? Assem the DCO rep. explained that the celebration is around a Palestinian who has just been freed from jail and is riding back home - probably in the cab. The flat (yellow and red) that so jeopardizes Israeli security is of the Fatah (as A. the child vendor explained to us with shining eyes, and was confirmed by the DCO). Our question as to how such signs of merriment endanger anyone and entail the closing of the vehicle entry to Nablus - was answered with a wordless smile.
The whole affair lasted about ten minutes.
No detainees as we arrive, the special side line for women and children is very crowded.
At the men pedestrians' lines, special Passover procedure. Meaning? Here goes:
How is this day at the men's line different from all other days?
In that on all other days the MPmen and women sitting in their bunker checking posts bark at the Palestinians waiting to be checked "One by one!!" "Get back!", "Don't crowd, whoa!!!" and all in the loudest, roughest, most insolent manner of the enforcers of the rules of Creation. We are conditioned to hearing this, certainly the Palestinians are. Suddenly - today the MPwoman's voice in the loudspeaker screeches "Come on, faster!! Don't you understand? What's the matter with you? How long do I have to wait for you??!!!!!!!"
The young men are taken aback, embarrassed at this turn of events, get confused, trip, she gets even more irritated, her voice a paragon of boredom, irritation and exasperation. The upshot of this, however, is that passage at the men's lines right now is at top speed, they empty in a matter of seconds.
What's this all about? The missing part of the usual picture: no soldiers standing around the head of the line, securing the checks.
After some minutes of this inverted order of things, suddenly, without any warning, two male MPs take position and reverse the word of the law, barking in their turn the usual mantras of "Get back, one by one, where do you think you're going????!!!! Hey, whoa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
This shift occurs in no time flat and embodies in one senseless beat the essence of the entire occupation mechanism: Contradictory, arbitrary restrictive instructions enforced in rough scorn, crassness and totally callous manner, as if the future of the universe depended on them.
Epilogue: a young, insolent paratrooper approaches us asking us behind the fence if everything's alright. We answer that the contradicting screeches bawled through the loudspeakers are an offense to any citizen. This suffices for him to try and chase us away. "You're disturbing the soldiers'. How's that? "Saying things like this."
Vehicle checks: waiting in line between 15 and 45 minutes.
The inspection of a bus and its passengers lasted 40 minutes!
On the brighter side of things: M. the child-vendor who works after school hours to help his family survive shows us a test on which he received a 100 mark. A bit of focused bliss.
17:05 Three detainees - two of them taxi cabs along the usual procedure, one 'bingo' (his ID number comes up on the wanted list). The DCO representative assured us he intervened on their behalf with the checkpoint commander.
We left towards 6 p.m.
Beit Furik Checkpoint 16:30-16:50
Noa B. and Linda
Nothing happening here. As we watched, the commander approached asking who we are. He received an expalantion. He had never ever heard of Machsomwatch. Even though he's been here for quite a while. How long? Four days...
Some more explanations, and when he heard the word 'Occupation', his eyes opened wide: "What occupation???!" He had not the faintest idea what we were talking about.