Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 8.4.09, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
The occupation routine continues at the checkpoints.
Harassment of peddlers at Huwwara continues: "There better not be any garbage at the checkpoint or in the parking lot" - the words of the army which is not only the most moral one in the world, but also the most concerned about the environment and about health.
(And the checkpoints - what category do they fall into?)
7:15 We pass Marda - the gate is open.
Zeita: The exit from the village to Route 5 is still blocked by concrete cubes.
10 vehicles on line, some go through without being inspected. Inspecting a car takes less than half a minute.
7:21 Beita: Two army jeeps in the parking lot opposite the village. They're not checking anyone.
7:23 Burin/Yitzhar junction: An army jeep in the direction of Jit. No cars being inspected.
People leaving Nablus on foot:
7:30 The line for women and the elder is longer than usual. As usual, the DCO representative notes that people on that line are also being inspected because of an alert.
Ten minutes later the line is gone, and men and women go through quickly.
The line for men under 45: 45 people on line; two soldiers inspecting.
The Palestinians are already used to the inspection. They remove their belts while still on line. They take out their ID cards. They place their belongings on the wooden shelf, pass through the magnemometer, take their belongings over to the soldier's booth, push their ID card through the slit in the booth and bend down a few seconds later to retrieve it from the lower slit. Then they put their belt back on and leave the checkpoint area.
We timed how long it takes to go through:
7:37 10 people in one minute in two inspection lanes.
7:41 5 people in one minute.
7:48 6 people in one minute
According to a rough calculation, about 360-400 people go through the checkpoint in one hour, and about another 150 in the line for women and elderly.
How long does it take one person to go through: We timed a man from when he arrived at the checkpoint to see how long he spends there - 12 minutes in the morning, after the rush hour of people leaving Nablus was over.
People entering Nablus on foot:
Few people entering Nablus. A woman with a cart didn't wait long; A., the DCO representative, came over with a soldier and they unlocked the handicapped gate for her to go through.
Why do they need a turnstile at the entry, and a locked gate for the handicapped and people with carts?
Vehicles leaving Nablus;
2 inspection lanes leaving Nablus. The drivers aren't delayed for long.
15 cars inspected in 20 minutes - an average of a minute and a quarter per car.
Vehicles entering Nablus:
A barrier in the entry lane that cars have to go around. A., the DCO representative, someone stole a taxi and broke through the checkpoint. So now everyone is being punished?
8:15 We decide to look for the coffee seller, to have our morning coffee. We look for his car, which we saw when we arrived at the parking lot this morning. It isn't there.
The drivers tell us that a few minutes ago he was taken to be detained. He's in the pen. The few other peddlers have disappeared.
A Border Police jeep drives around the parking lot, looking for peddlers. We find A., the DCO representative, and try to find out why the coffee seller has been detained.
His answer: "They're not allowed to sell here." "Why?," we ask - "Why aren't the hundreds and thousands of people who go through every day not allowed to slake their thirst, like they would be able to do at any other central station?"
His answer: "They leave garbage. We suggested they hire someone for NIS 5 per day per peddler. But they didn't pay the person who cleaned up, so we're not letting them sell here."
Finally he has second thoughts and talks to the checkpoint commander, and the coffee seller is released. He says he can only clean around his car, and takes us over to show us what the army wants them to do - clean up all the piles of garbage that have piled up everywhere in the lot over the past few months.
The coffee seller cleans the area around his car and begins selling coffee. We left him a MachsomWatch card in case he has more problems.
We cut short our route - it's the eve of the holiday and we have to get back to Israel before traffic gets heavy.
This time we see a line of about 30 cars going uphill on the road to the checkpoint. But they go through quickly - inspecting each one takes about half a minute.