Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 3.5.09, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
14:55 Tapuach Za'tara Junction Checkpoint
No vehicles waiting in line. Lots of army.
15:15 Huwwara Checkpoint
No X-ray truck, only sniffer dog and trainer. Shooting post manned in the middle of the roundabout at the entry junction, gun pointed at approaching traffic.
Vehicle checking post:
Cars wait about 20 minute to half an hour to be inspected.
As we arrive we notice a car with Israeli license plates standing at the side of the checking lane. It is from Anata (East Jerusalem) and is refused entry to Nablus. We learn that some new instruction? forbids East Jerusalemites entry to Nablus except on Saturdays. The driver's keys and ID are taken from him and he has to wait for half an hour before he gets them back and is sent back where he came from.
A cab driver wants to transport a small agricultural machine, the MPwoman refuses, he has to leave it somewhere else and the inspection of his car takes place in his absence.
Passengers are sent to wait further than usual today by the soldier standing proudly at the side of a civilian van parked at the entrance to the compound, which we learn is a Shabak (Security Services) mobile unit. "Where do you want them?" asks the MPwoman. Far. Further, he gestures. The system reveals itself eventually: stacks of Palestinian IDs are taken from the young men in the pedestrian waiting lines and while these wait at the 'waiting area' near the lines, the DCO representative delivers them to the Shabak fellows who 'check them' and either at random or not send for one of them, than another, than another for a personal 'interview' inside the van. After waiting for an hour or two, the groups of men are then handed back their IDs and sent on their way.
16:40 Border Patrol jeep arrives and delivers two BPmen who join the vehicle checking post as what seem to be monitors.
16:55 Sniffer dog trainer checks vehicles without her dog in an added lane.
17:05 The Shabak interview mobile unit takes off.
At the pedestrian checking posts:
Taxi drivers crowd very much closer to the entry turnstile today. Apparently the soldiers are too busy otherwise so no "securing" soldiers cling to the waiting lines where they usually are on the lookout for the drivers to hunt them and send them into the detention cubicle. One of the drivers ask us to report that last time he was sent there, two soldiers hit him on his back with their rifle butt, and the officer only released him when he said he wanted to lodge a complaint.
An elderly, elegant man, in impeccable English, approaches and asks us to fid out what is happening with the new entry-to-Nablus instructions - how come East Jerusalemites are suddenly barred from entering the city (except on Saturday visits)? What is going to happen to all those coming into the city to work, like university professors and doctors, and others?
The air is heavy with the oppressive desert storm cum local quarry dust, and the added delight of the MPwoman's barks (sic!) into the loudspeakers, bored and crass: "Come on, get back!!!"
*** We try to inquire on the DCO hotline about the prohibited entry of East Jerusalemites into Nablus and the soldier on line has no idea what we're talking about...
17:15 Beit Furik Checkpoint
Seven sleepy puppies lie on the road beyond the entrance.
Cars exit unchecked. A huge Israeli flag proudly flutters at the edge of the concrete ledge where we used to stand and hear from the soldiers about the serious threat to Israel's security hovering over the site for which we were required to move/stand further away/split or else.
At the entry lane to Nablus, a car is stopped. Its driver in traditional Islamic garb is required to open his trunk for superficial inspection.
We left at 17:30.