Beit Furik, Huwwara, Sat 2.2.08, Morning
Translation: Hanna B.
We left Jerusalem at 10:00. The road northwards from Jerusalem and beyond Ofra is all covered with snow and the landscape is so beautiful that it hurts. But the CPs are ugly and bad as usual!
We decided to begin the observation this time at Beit Furik. The CP is nearly empty, and there was no car queue either. Some of the people crossing over observed to us that "today is a good day but this week was terrible" - a fact that was also clear from the last reports. While we were standing at the CP we saw a military Hammer driving in the fields opposite the CP on its southern side. We decided to wait so as to clarify to ourselves the meaning of this. And indeed, some time later the Hammer returned with a Palestinian in it.
The man was made to stand with his face toward the concrete blocks and he was searched. But when we approached the spot he must have already been released and returned in the direction of Nablus.
We intended leaving when suddenly two cars with Israeli number plates burst forth on the Madison road. What does that mean? On a Shabbat? But our amazement didn't last for more than two minutes. The cars stopped at the CP and some men and women opened the car trunk of the car and out of it they took food and drink for the CP soldiers. We understood what the meaning of that was and moved away. When these people left - before we did, of course, they couldn't restrain themselves and remarked that "you certainly bring goodies to the Palestinians, you are Palestinian lovers". We refrained from reacting - what does all that have to do with us!
We "met" a stork on the field near the CP and thought, full of envy, how free it was to wander, and how restrained the movement of the people having to pass the CP is.
When we arrived the movement was sparse, but later the flow of people returning from shopping and errands at Nablus, increased considerably. At the beginning of our stay it took about 20 minutes to pass, but until the end of the shift (16:15) the passage of the young men took two hours. The car passage took at least 50 minutes for a car which was positioned at the beginning of the queue - and we were unable to find out how long it had taken for the cars which had passed before. As the two x-ray cars which belong to the Shomron battalion are out of order, the checking of the people's belongings had to be made by hand - another delay, added to the usual delay. Again we say women of all ages waiting for the men, and chased away, time and again, and made to stand at the end of the CP.
Students study now on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which may account for the fact that the CP was empty at the beginning of our stay there.
The behavior of the women soldiers of the Military Police was disgraceful, and that of the military-policewoman Esti was even more shameful than that of the others. Their commander a young man with the rank of sergeant, strolled around with hands in his pocket and didn't do a things to alleviate the pressure at the queues nor to restrain the military-policewomen.
We talked to one of the young man who passed at the CP. The man told us that he was working at Ramallah and earned $650 per month. He shares a flat with a few friends and they pay $500 rent. After financing food and travel he remains with a monthly deficit - but the possibility of sitting at home without work seems much worse.
In the solitary confinement shed there was a detainee in whose belongings was found a picture of a shahid - and unforgivable "crime". It took very man phone calls to have the man released.
The DCO man was there when we arrived but he left immediately for lunch. After we called a few times the humanitarian center to complain about the especially slow passage of vehicles, the head of the DCO arrived. When we stressed that the DCO representative had left and that a long time had passed since, and that the situation at the vehicle passage queue was difficult - the "miracle" happened. The DCO representative arrived with the speed of lightening, the Military Police commander took his hands out of his pockets and began helping with the passage of vehicles - and we were convinced that it was possible to act when there is somebody who demands it.
It has to be stressed that the CP commander, the officer D. came up to us twice out of his own initiative to find out whether we had any complaints and asked us not to hesitate to approach him in every and any matter. His positive influence was felt in the operation of the CP.
On the way back at the Burin\Yitzhar CP there was a long queue of cars. We couldn't stay any longer, but did complain.
It wouldn't be right to finish the report without stressing the humiliation caused by the very passage at the CP, efficient as it may be. It is a real violation of human dignity and freedom - and many of the people passing at the CPs express this feeling with words that don't leave any reason for doubt.