Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 22.10.07, Morning
In general the roadblocks are not crowded except for cases where the
soldiers conspire and slow down or close the roadblock purposely.
There are 10 cars from the west. None from Nablus. The roadblock at the entrance to Huwarra is not staffed.
15 cars wait in the queue in the car park. Only one lane is open for both directions.
At the roadblock we stood near the turnstiles and didn’t move any nearer. The roadblock was immediately closed down both for cars and people and we were commanded to leave. Within minutes a queue of tens of people built up.
We moved to the edge of the concrete lane and the roadblock opened.
Pedestrians cross quickly and women are not checked.
The car crossing is still very slow. We see four soldiers at the car crossing all the time (in addition to those who are checking the pedestrians and the soldier at the upper position) some of whom are leaning on the concrete parapet and chatting instead of opening an additional lane to speed the crossing up. According to our calculations each car is inspected for 3 – 4 minutes and a lorry which we monitored crossed after about an hour.
The soldiers were very hostile and, of course, didn’t talk to us at all and we could only phone the humanitarian centre and the DCO and ask them to come and deal with the situation.
We moved away to the car park and saw that they began to move cars across more quickly, about a minute or less per car.
The drivers say that since the festival the roadblock is tough. To our sorrow they also say that it is worse when we arrive and the roadblock is closed.
They complain that the crossing is only opened around 7:00 a.m. or later. Perhaps we should try to get there earlier to check what is going on. Osama, the coffee vendor, shows us the permit for a Palestinian I.D. card and said that he got it through the agreement with the Authority for 5000 permits to reunite families. Perhaps this is a testimony that it really is taking place.
A few coffee and bagel stalls are open in the car park.
At the roadblock there are about ten people waiting behind the turnstiles and the crossing is quick. Two positions plus a humanitarian lane are functioning.
There are also two lanes open for cars at the exit from Nablus and there is no queue at all.
In order to cross to the x-ray machine it is again necessary to jump over the fence. Although there is an opening in the mesh fence and the concrete one, the opening behind the checkpoint has been barred by iron rods, behind the area of the turnstiles. We can see men climbing over the iron rods which are over a metre high. What can someone who finds it hard to climb do, even if he is under 45 years old? I tried to take a photograph but the barrier is so ingenious that it is difficult to see from where we stand.
The soldiers, between themselves, say that they have been ordered to ignore us. At any rate at least one soldier greets us warmly and asks how we are and the roadblock commander, N., comes to talk to us. He says that he has looked at our site but has not seen a report of his shift. It must be said that his shift appears to be run properly within the limits of the general dreadful situation. It shows again how a roadblock commander can influence the attitude towards the Palestinians even though it can’t influence the policies at the roadblocks. He agreed with us that it is not right that they have to jump over the fence by the x-ray machine lane and we asked him to pass on our request to make an opening.
Not one car there. There are a few Israeli cars in the car park near the kiosk. Perhaps it would be possible to open a kiosk for the Palestinians in the large car park at Huwwara?