'Awarta, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 10.8.09, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
A new phenomenon - quiet and respectful civil disobedience - Palestinians refuse to be checked by dogs at the roadblocks. If we thought that 9 years of roadblocks have cowed the Palestinian population into docile submission - there are people who are prepared to show that the reverse is true. A car whose occupants refused an inspection is detained for a long while (over an hour and a half) at Huwwara roadblock.
On the one hand a new atmosphere is declared - easier crossings at roadblocks - while on the other the sniffer dogs are sent there. The dogs, according to Muslim tradition, are unclean and it is only to annoy the people and perhaps to underline who is really in charge and who can do whatever they want, in spite of everything. Or maybe it is a training exercise for the dogs? Who knows?
A lorry's load is being checked at the entrance to the territories. Perhaps by the Ministry of Commerce.
The entrances to Kifel Hares, Marda and Beita are open. On the way back a Border Police jeep is opposite the entrance to Beita. No cars are detained.
The entrance to Zeita has been closed for many months.
There are 19 cars from the direction of Nablus. Just one checkpoint is open. We phoned Abu Rookon, the crossing officer, and he promised to deal with it. On the way back at 8:45 a.m. 20 cars were being inspected at two checkpoints.
At Borin Junction (Yitzhar) 3 vehicles were being detained by a Border Police jeep. On the way back it was empty.
7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
When we arrived we saw a green car parked, with all its doors open, at the side of the road near the soldiers with 4 young men standing by it. They look as though they are from affluent families. Two soldiers (one female and one male) immediately came over to us and demanded that we move behind the yellow concrete block. When we asked the meaning of the green car we received the following answer: "security reasons", and nothing more. Since the passengers looked relaxed and unworried we saw no reason to argue with the soldiers. The car was still there, in the same position, when we left. In a conversation with Abu Rukon, the DCO crossing officer, later he told us that they were 'inspection dissenters' (dissenting against sniffer dog inspections). This is a new concept in our lexicon. He said that he had persuaded them to agree to the inspection. It happened at about 9:00 a.m. We also contacted the centre to ensure that there was a written record of the complaint. We read about a similar incident in one of the last reports.
There was indeed a dog there inspecting cars almost continuously. Among others, a minibus was inspected (the objections of the driver did not help him) while the passengers waited outside and even a bus. Each inspection took about 5 minutes. The inspection of the bus took 15 minutes. A minibus driver who drove by us at the entrance to Nablus complained about the dog inspection. It appears to be a common occurrence at Huwwara in spite of the alleviation of restrictions for the welfare of the population.
All the rest of the cars at the exit from Nablus crossed without inspection, sometimes they were stopped for a question or two. None of were in a queue of more than 10 cars.
While we were there we saw a few Israeli cars entering with special permits.
A few empty lorries, at the entrance to the town, were turned back. Apparently they were sent to make a big detour to Awarta roadblock.
One car from the direction of Nablus.