Awarta, Beit Furik, Habla, Huwwara, Jit, Tue 15.3.11, Afternoon
Habla gate. The school bus arrived. The soldiers checked the children’s permits and found one boy, about 11 years old, who didn’t have his original birth certificate (he had a photocopy) or a copy of his parents’ ID cards. He had to get off the bus and wasn’t allowed through. The driver tried to convince the soldiers to let him cross, but to no avail. After a while the bus went on with the rest of the children. A teacher remained behind with the boy.
We called the DCO who promised to take care of the problem. We called twice more while we waited.
The soldiers explained that every child must carry a valid permit (the boy had a permit), an original birth certificate and copies of his parents’ ID cards. They said that the DCO knows the rules; the boy also knows them, so he can’t go through. “He could be a terrorist!”
At 14:00 the soldiers wanted to close the gate and leave. An older man, acting on behalf of the boy, asked for the copy of the birth certificate which hadn’t been returned. The soldiers threw it in the garbage because “it’s illegal to carry photocopied documents; they can be forged, and in any case he can’t use it anywhere.” Now the soldiers and the older man began a discussion.
When the soldiers closed the gate and the boy and teacher returned to the eastern side, we urgently called the Humanitarian Office, and while we were talking with them the soldiers got a phone call, apparently from the DCO, and were ordered to release the boy. The checkpoint commander was very angry at the order and yelled at his superiors (“Fuck you…”), telling them it annoys him when he adheres to certain regulations and then they nullify his decisions.
Our discussion with the soldiers continued while the boy and his teacher walked toward the gate, both because they’d thrown away the photocopy and because the presence of Machsom Watch interfered with what they wanted to do. They promised that the next time we cross the line of the gate (which we hadn’t) they’ll arrest us, which they have the right to do. The boy was finally released; Petahya told him the soldiers promised us he wouldn’t be allowed to cross tomorrow without all the necessary documents.
Jit junction – a flying checkpoint. Only Israeli vehicles allowed through – Palestinian vehicles turned back.
Yitzhar junction – checkpoint. Palestinian vehicles aren’t allowed through.
Beit Furiq junction – The checkpoint is open; no soldiers on site. We entered Beit Furiq and asked a taxi driver whether there had been a checkpoint. He said one was there for two hours and then dismantled.
Huwwara checkpoint – no soldiers.
We drove into the village. Merchants told us that after 5 PM settlers on a bus (backed by soldiers) threw rocks at stores.
Awarta – Under curfew. No one enters or leaves. Soldiers at the eastern entrance prevent people from coming in or leaving. They tell us there’s a security alert according to which there are terrorists in Awwarta.
17:25 The Habla gate is open.