'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 14.5.09, Afternoon

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Michal S., Yehudit L. (reporting and photographing)

Translator:  Charles K.

It's hot today.

13:55  Marda.  Both gatesinfo-icon are open.  Zeita - the entrance is blocked, as usual; also when we returned.

14:05  Za'tara checkpoint. 
11 vehicles on line from the north, waiting to be inspected.  One inspection booth.

14:10  Awarta checkpoint.  A long line of vehicles waiting to be inspected.

14:16  Beit Furik checkpoint. 
All vehicles are checked quickly.  A Palestinian sits on the fence between the lanes - the checkpoint commander says that he's in a stolen taxi so he has to wait for the police [we'll send a photo].  An Israeli driver is waiting next to the checkpoint for someone from Beit Furik who owes him money.

14:35  Awarta checkpoint.  The line we saw earlier has disappeared.

14:45  Huwwara checkpoint. 
No crowd in the shed; sometimes there was almost no line.  The soldiers doing the inspections weren't yelling over the loudspeaker.  We walked over to the vehicle lanes, near the remains of the old checkpoint. 
B., the checkpoint commander, came over and announced that we're not allowed to stand there??!!.  That the entire area is considered to be part of the checkpoint...a military area.  We asked to see an order defining this as a closed military area. 
The peddlers reported being treated badly:  he threatened them that they had to leave the checkpoint by 15:00.

15:10  The checkpoint commander shows up again and demands that we leave.

S., the DCO representative, says that for the past week inspection of vehicles leaving Nablus have been eased: only IDs are checked, not the interior of the vehicle.  Nor do people have to get out of the vehicle.  Nevertheless, when a bus full of passengers arrives and every ID is checked, a line forms and people wait. 
12 vehicles waited in the vehicle lanes to be inspected.  Vehicles entering Nablus weren't inspected.

A children's bus is detained for 2 hours

15:34  A bus from Qalqilya full of children returning from a trip to Nablus and from the Al Bidan pools is detained.  A woman - the mother of one of the children - is taken off the bus.  A female soldier noticed her photographing the checkpoint.  We heard snatches of the conversation:  A soldier checked the camerainfo-icon, claimed he found photographs of other checkpoints.  The woman was taken to the pen.  We notified the humanitarian office.

15:45  The checkpoint commander comes over (again) and demands that we leave.

15:55  We reminded the army's humanitarian office that the Palestinian woman and the bus were being detained.  The call was transferred to the DCO.  A. said that they'll try to hurry things along. 

S. the DCO representative, came over to us and said that the matter is being handled at the divisional level.  Her ID card is being checked.

The suspect leaves the solitary confinement

16:30  The woman and the bus are still being detained.  Mothers ask for water.  Their request is granted - the DCO representative accompanies them to fill their bottles.  Meanwhile a few children get off the bus, accompanied by mothers or teachers - to use the bathroom [a photo will be attached].

16:45  We can now see the Palestinian woman (who was removed from the pen) [photo to be attached] talking with army personnel - one of them is the commander of DCO Nablus, Abu Rukun, whom we've met today for the first time.

17:10  The woman is released, along with all the bus passengers.  We were told that the camera was returned to her, but without the memory card.  The DCO representative who took care of her release promised to check the matter.  We hope the memory card will be returned to her.

17:15  The bus returned, in reverse, because the ID card hadn't been returned.  And then they're on their way home.

17:30  Za'tara checkpoint. 
9 vehicles from the north wait for inspection., two inspection booths, the security personnel's weapons pointed straight at the drivers.