Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 15.10.07, Morning

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Miki F. Michal S. Rachel A. (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

 Rachel B. Translation

Za'tara; 7:30 AM

The Junction is empty of cars in all directions.

Yitzhar (Za'tara direction) 7:40 AM

The checkpoint is staffed.  There are about 10 cars but they are checked quickly and superficially. Cars passed through after an average wait of 3-4 minutes.

Huwwara 8:00 AM

An electrical cable hangs from the utility pole down to the ground across the parking lot.  We called the electrical company.  Later we were called by the electrical company office in Ariel for more details on the problem and exact location. Nothing had been done by the time of our departure at noon.

Several Palestinians complained to us that there are no toilets in the area of the checkpoint.  Can something be done about this?  Whom should we complain to?

A man arrived who complained about identity cards confiscated from a group of older women during their visit to Jerusalem during Ramadan. Is anything known about this?

Two liens are open plus a "humanitarian concerns" line.  About 15 people are waiting to be cheeked and they go through rather quickly.

Beit Fureik; 8:50 AM

The commander asks us to leave the area of the checkpoint arguing that this is an order from the Brigade Headquarters.  We refuse to leave and they stop checking cars through.  We go aside and call the District Coordination Office.  At this point, they open the checkpoint.  We approach the turnstiles and they continue to process people through.

9:05 AM They stop processing cars again.

9:10 AM We call the District Coordination Office and the I.D.F. Humanitarian Center.

9:25 AM We take pictures documenting the checkpoint being closed for 20 minutes.

9:26 AM While we were taking pictures, the checkpoint was opened.  Unclear why.

11:15 AM

We go back to Huwwara. There are at least 100 people waiting and one detainee.

Three lines processing people are open plus a special "humanitarian issues" line.

Examination are taking place with a magnetic scanner (?r+mwngm), including female soldiers who are checking men through.

The detainee is an Israeli Arab from Um El Fahem.  He has been detained for 2 hours already while his father and brother-in-law are waiting for him outside.  They had entered Nablus based on an announcement posted on the internet permitting people to visit relatives in Nablus during the holiday even if they did not have entry permits.

Today there is still no school (The Arab schools in Israel are also still closed), the university is closed and similarly, other institutions. Apparently it is not a real holiday today, but a kind of extension of the holiday.  In any case, why is the son being detained while his father was allowed to go through?  Why didn't they call the police in order to release him?  The soldiers say that they have called the Security Services (???)

11:40 AM They closed one line through the turnstiles even though the line is still very long.

Two women from "Blue & White" arrive.  Their car is parked inside the checkpoint area, right next to the lines for cars going thorough.  They take out coffee and cake {for the soldiers}.  When they see us one of them (from Haifa) approaches us, still on the other side of the fence, and starts to curse us with the usual arsenal of curses (Arafat's whores, Hanniah's, Meshal's... whores) I take pictures and she threatens me that she will take away my camerainfo-icon.  A minute later I see her go into the special line for the car with the scanner (an area that we are forbidden to enter, of course). I bend down to put my camera into my bag and she quickly approaches me, slaps Michal on the face and tries to grab my camera.  Luckily for me, I was across the cement fence so she managed to touch my camera, but not grab it.

The soldiers removed her and took her inside the checkpoint area and we moved towards the turnstiles.  At the same time, Miki went and stood next to them (the women from "Blue & White").  Immediately, a soldier came over and asked her go to the other side of the white line and, of course, did not say a word to them {the women from "Blue & White").

Meanwhile, a major approaches Michal and me next to the turnstiles and asks us to go to the other side of the white line.  While we argue with him, a group of District Coordination Office officers arrives. The District Coordination Office commander, lieutenant-colonel R., asks me "Please conducts your wars somewhere else.'  I explain to him that no one saw us yelling, cursing, or trying to grab cameras, so that it is not us who are "making wars" and causing a disturbance.

Regarding the Israeli Arab detainee, he says that today is no longer a holiday, therefore the free passage for Israelis to Nablus is not in effect.  Nevertheless, he took care of the situation and managed to "convince" the checkpoint commander to release the man.

12:10 PM

The Blue Police (blue uniform = civilian police) has arrived, called in by the soldiers.  They call us the then, per our request, the women from "Blue & White" and check our ID cards.  However, they won't file a written complaint for us.  In the end, they demand that we all leave the area and do not cite either side.

We should note that throughout the whole visit, the women of "Blue & White" were treated very politely and warmly by the soldiers.  The soldiers allowed them access to any area they wished within the checkpoint and, simultaneously and consistently, tried to remove us to the side and limit our access.

To our regret, a large portion of our time at the checkpoint was devoted, again, to confrontations with the soldiers and the women settlers, and less to observing quietly and assisting Palestinians with the problems they encounter.