Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 4.12.07, Morning
Translation: Ruth F.
Even when it all seems to be fine and the checkpoints function relatively calmly, it's an impossible situation and the people passing are extremely angry.
For the last couple of weeks there has been a checkpoint at the entrance to the occupied territories on
route number 5.
The entrance to Zeita was blocked with huge cement blocks.
Za'tara/Tapuach Junction -
From the direction of route 5, three cars were waiting for an inspection. From the direction of Nablus there were 20 cars and the traffic was flowing.
Up to Huwwara checkpoint there were no blockages.
7:55 Huwwara checkpoint
There was much traffic in the parking lot, we heard lots of honking and people shouting out the their destinations, the bagel stand was open without any interruptions and the coffee salesman was there as well.
When we went up the stairs, a young man came in our direction and told us that three people were sitting in the detainee cell since 5 AM, their IDs were taken under pretext that they were forged. We went to see them and they seemed rather amused, they told us that since 5 or 6 AM they had been in the detention cell, and asked that we find out what was going on.
Obviously the soldiers responded politely and took no notice of the white line and neither did we, obviously.
About 100 people were waiting to exit Nablus, the inspection appeared to be the regular ones, but most of the men seemed very angry, they all got out with their belt in their hand, stopping to dress themselves, arrange their packages and calm down from the experience, when we asked them how long they waited , most of the answers were of between half an hour and up to two hours.
During the whole shift the humanitarian line was open to women and the elders. A very old man arrived, he was heading to Nablus. He didn't go to the turnstile but to the soldier that stood next to us. The soldier stopped a car and told the old man to get inside, we learned that this soldier was A. the checkpoint commander.
The soldiers were Yeshiva students that live in the occupied territories and so was the commander, their behavior was very well tempered.
The soldiers (from the MP) at the inspection both were very rude and most of the contact between the residents is done through them. They yell at those waiting, shout at them to arrange the line, yell at each other from one both to the other, it was so strident that we asked the commander to tell them to calm down. After a few minutes he came back and told us that he spoke to their commander and after that the humiliating "routine" was preformed quietly.
At the entrance to Nablus was the usual stream of pedestrians and only a few cars, since the car inspection post was manned the whole time there was no line. Apart for the cars that had a foreign number, all the drivers that had a permit were allowed to pass.
At the entrance to Nablus on the road, was a ten year old boy helping his blind father to pass, there was also a woman pushing an invalid in his chair.
8:15- We recognized the DCO representative (T'), who explained to us that two of the detainees had forged IDs, they had even admitted it to be true. They were now waiting for the police to take their testimony and probably send them back to Nablus. The third detainee was, as they call it, a "bingo"- they gave his ID number to the GSS to examine it and they were waiting for an answer.
After five minutes the blue police arrived, they filled a form, the other detainees were rebuked and sent back to Nablus, only one of them was left.
The waiting time for cars at the exit from Nablus was of half an hour: They checked the engine, the trunk and the packages in the car were taken to the x-ray machine.
8:30- There were still about 100 people waiting to pass, even though the inspections were relatively quick.
8:40- T' from the DCO asked that we tell him how the checkpoint had changed through out the time we had been coming there, he was preparing a lecture for his unit and we have a "History Memory" of about 4 years.
9:30- Things hardly changed the whole time, there was still much pressure at the exit. The third detainee got his ID back and was released.
We left for Beit Furik.
9:40- Beit Furik checkpoint
For a change no one used the white line against us. The commander was most cooperative and came to speak with us. When we asked why there was only one inspection post for cars and why the drivers had to wait for a half an hour (as they reported), the commander opened another post and all the cars disappeared immediately from the checkpoints on both directions.
There were only a few pedestrians, which is normal for this hour.
10:00 - Awarta
One car was waiting to enter Nablus. A. came to us and told us that the soldiers were alright on this day, and that everything was fine.
It was very strange but on the way back, Za'tara/ Tapouah junction was empty on both ways in the middle of the day.