Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 18.11.07, Afternoon

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Galit G., Tal H. (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

 Translation: Tal H.  

Tapuach Za'tara Junction CP 15:00

9 vehicles coming from the west, about20 from Nablus in two waiting lines.

Yitzhar road Junction CP - unmanned

Huwwara Checkpoint 15:15       

Checkpoint commander: a sergeant whose name, we eventually deduce, is probably S. One of several soldiers present with long white "tzitziyot" protruding from under their army uniform (part of traditional orthodox male garb).

DCO representative: R.

3 active checking posts.

One of the local cab drivers tells us that earlier today, at noon, "there were guys here from the GSS (security services) and they raised hell. They took out ten students from the waiting lines and led them back behind the bungalow (former "humanitarian point") to pressure them into becoming collaborators."

The special side line for women and elderly moves rather rapidly.

A heavy woman-MP with a laterally held rifle takes up much of the room on the narrow path the women have to use, as she moves against their traffic and hits them unnoticing or unwilling to acknowledge their need for room as bodies moving in space.

The men's lines are impeccable single files. As though they had just been drilled.

A securing soldier yells "Whoa whoa whoa whoa!!!" at such volume that even we jump. A major row takes place inside the lines and the soldiers stress out and roar even more than usual. This scene goes on and on, the Palestinians can no longer get through, checking is stopped. The commander does not intervene, at least as far as we can see. A soldier climbs up on the metal bars of the revolving gatesinfo-icon and yells a series of blood-curdling orders down at the men. Apparently there's also a stuck turnstile.

15:30 Two detaineesinfo-icon at the concrete hold. We have no way of approaching them, they are constantly interrogated by soldiers. Fifteen minutes later they are released by the commander after holding a long talk with them.

Military policewomen do not cease their screaming.

The next scare: a soldier manning the observation tower has apparently run out of batteries, and he breaks out in screams that resound all across the checkpoint compound, at everyone in sight, both soldiers and Palestinians.

R., the DCO, arrives and tells us about the row that broke out earlier: someone fell down in the lines, and nearly got trampled. That's when the soldiers entered the crowd to get him up.

Beit Furik Checkpoint 16:10

Many pedestrians at this hour (earlier than our usual arrival). Long vehicle line.

Entering and exiting vehicles get checked on the same lane. For some reason this evening we are greeted warmly by nearly everyone exiting the shed, as we stand on the freshly painted white line.

17:00 Back to Huwwara

A bus exiting Nablus has been waiting for over an hour and a half (we began timing it before we left for Beit Furik). Still crowds in the pedestrian waiting lines. A young boy comes out, complaining: "They killed us here today. Waite over three hours!"

Prisoners released from the Israeli Damon jail hand the soldiers their release papers (no IDs). A deaf dialogue ensues: the soldier says again and again in Hebrew that there's a number missing. The man does not understand him. Finally he is allowed through. Others like him are still waiting. Tense. "Why do I have to wait here for three hours because of your army's papers?"

A Military Policewoman breaks out in a shrieking amok, "Fly back!!"

18:00 We leave.