'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 29.7.09, Afternoon

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Racheli B.-O., Sharon L. (reporting); Natanya translating

14.20 Zeita Jamma'in

Why has the blockage not been removed???.

14.25 Za'tara

From the direction of road 5 there is no checking. From Nablus about 15 cars pass quickly. One taxi is standing in the carpark and the passengers are standing and waiting for the search to be completed. After a few minutes their IDs are returned and they go on their way.

14.45 Checkpoint of Beit Furik

A bored soldier stands under the shelter. The few cars pass freely. One of the soldiers comes up and signs to us to stop. We say that we are from MachsomWatch and he remembers H. from the morning. He asks how we are and says that the checking is random, some questions without the ID.

15.00 Awarta

One car goes in the direction of Huwwara. Two cars wait at the checkpoint. One is a trade car and the other a truck. The driver of the trade car says that he has been there half an hour. The car is empty and the driver opens the baggage and see two gallons of juice and says to the driver, "Why do you lie, the car is not empty" and takes the IDs of the two men. The truck has already been there for 45 minutes. This is a truck which goes through 4-5 times a day. Other cars stop for a short questioning by the soldier and go on. Some minutes later a soldier comes to the trade car with the IDs of the men, takes his hand away and does not allow them to go on. And then he says to the driver, " Next time I ask you if there is something in the car tell me exactly what there is and don't lie." He gives them the IDs and they drive away.

Racheli goes to the driver to speak to him and then the commander comes up and says that he is not allowed to speak as he has been detained. Then an ideological argument starts and in the meantime the truck waits. The commander claims that the passenger's ID is forged and there they are detained. He says he can detain him for three hours. Racheli says he is there to check the car and not the ID. He says that the man's ID says that he is married with three children and the man says he is not married and that he will wait for the ID to be checked. He affirms "that the driver has to take everything out of the truck and to wait for the soldier and a dog" and again what does that have to do with the ID?  In the end the commander says that he hopes that he will be freed in half and hour. So. And he says that he enjoyed the conversation with Racheli. Racheli and the driver exchanged phone number and we drove off. Since when is the ID of a passenger checked at Awarta???

15.22 Huwwara

A soldier checks car of those entering and tells us to stand at the side and not to go through but we continue to advance. 15 cars leave Nablus, it seems that the lines at Huwwara have started again. Here too there is a random checkinginfo-icon and the drivers are stopped and questioned. Here too there is an ideological conversation with the soldier who does not know about MachsomWatch and the facts of the occupation. The commander comes up and asks us to stand "at the place for MachsomWatch. I asked him who decides where this is and he says this the command of the chiefs. I said to him that I am not a chief and also do not take orders from the army and that there has never been a "special place" for us. Racheli adds that not only there is no such place for us but also nowhere in the checkpoint is it written "the place for MachsomWatch" and that each time we are told something different. He says that we are disturbing them and I say that the soldier began the conversation of his own free will. Then he leaves us alonge to see the cars entering freely.  And the line exiting Nablus lengthens and it takes about 3 minutes to pass. There is no DCO representative present.

15.45 The driver of the truck at Awarta phones to tell Racheli he has been freed.

16.10 Checkoint of Za'tara

About 30 cars from Nablus.

For personal reasons we did not go on to Azzun Atma.