Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 22.10.07, Afternoon
Translation: Ruth F.
13:20 - A checkpoint at the entrance to Palestine, in front of Sha'ar Shomron. It was still there when we made our way home at 16:55.
We counted 7 vehicles from the east, 3 were to the south. The checkpoint commander told us that there were no restrictions on the traffic, but that there were many alerts- about a car with a bomb, about three suicide terrorists and about a shooting from a passing car.
13:50- Burin junction/Yitzhar-
The checkpoint was there as usual, but it wasn't manned. We were surprised, there were so many alerts and yet the checkpoint wasn't manned.
14:00 Beit Furik-
Before we came near the checkpoint a cab driver said to us that "the soldiers at the checkpoint are scum". As soon as we got there the checkpoint commander ordered us to leave and declared an "interruption of life". We complained at the Center. But even though we stood back the traffic had been renewed only after several minutes, at 14:12.
An elder man asked us politely to leave. Some of the young boys were more explicit about it, and eventually they are right, they are trying to have some sort of a daily routine. We left, we can only report that the traffic at the checkpoint was usual relatively to these hours, both for pedestrians and vehicles.
Three posts were open. The length of the line was as it usually is at these hours (about half of the shed was full). Young men took their belts off before stepping into the metal detector, some of them were told to get undressed- raise their shirts and show their stomachs, turn and show their backs, pull their trousers up and show their ankles. Two men said that the waiting time was of about half an hour, women and elder men passed in a separate line through the side gate. Some of the pedestrians, especially those with bags and packages were sent to the x-ray machine. They jumped over the low wall and passed the road between the cars just to reach it, afterwards they made their way back to the checkpoint to received their IDs back, by the same way. The soldier wouldn't allowd men to dress on the other side of the checkpoint. The soldier in the inspection post, checking the cars that were heading towards Nablus, was took this issue very seriously and was quite blunt about it. "Ruh min hun", "Ruh, Ruh, don't stand there", and the checkpoint commander said to us, when we asked him about this issue, that "He should dress outside, he is endangering my soldiers".
At the entrance to Nablus IDs and permits were checked, there wasn't much traffic and the passage was usually quick. The lined seemed to be longer at the exit from Nablus. At the exit they preformed the usual inspection- the solider made a signal with his hand, telling the person to come towards him, the driver came close to the checkpoint, stopped several meters from it, the passengers got off and made the rest of the way by foot. The driver drove to the checkpoint alone, the inspection included the inside of the car and its trunk, one person was told to lift the hood of the car engine as well. The passengers were sent with their bags to the x-ray machine, men went through the same inspection that the pedestrians went through. It was only after the soldiers checked the IDs of the passengers that they were allowed to head on. The time of the inspection was of between 3 minutes for a car with no passenger to 13 minutes for a car with five passengers (although in this case the soldiers wasted 3 minutes chatting over something they found in the bag of one of the passengers, a conversation that seemed to be amusing judging by the smiles on the soldiers faces).
When we arrived there were two detainees in the cell. They said they were detained for over two hours. The checkpoint commander said that they had only been there fro 15 minutes and promised it would take only another 15 minutes until they were released. They were detained because they disturbed the soldiers at their work, "they yelled and behaved badly, and in such a situation a bullet might just accidentally be shot and then...". They were indeed released after 15 minutes.
At 15:45 - another young man was detained. His friend told us that the young man was told to take of his belt, but he didn't understand as he didn't speak Hebrew. The checkpoint commander promised that the young man would be released after 10 minutes. The two incidents were what the soldiers might call "discipline problems".
Merav and Riva reported last week (a report from the 15th of October) about a young woman who said that the soldiers declared she was a suicide terrorist and put her in the cell. A military police woman told us that the brother of the woman was imprisoned in Nablus and that she "wanted to take it out of us, she tried hitting us". The blue police didn't come even though the soldiers called them. The soldiers called the family and they came to the checkpoint with the woman's ID and released her.
Sights from the checkpoint-
A well dressed attorney fixed his suit under the shed, he put his watch on, after having taking it off for the metal detector. He told us that he was on his way to an important meeting. The solider drove him away.
A couple passed through the checkpoint, a baby that was born only several weeks before was in the father's arms. A soldier said to us "move away from here", and then said to the soldier that tried telling her to give up that "No, they are rude", and then back at us, "your presence is disturbing us".
16:25 Za'atara/Tapouah- We counted about 21 vehicles from the south and 13 cars from the east.