Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 23.12.07, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
Zeita - Jima'ayn
Concrete blocks bar the exit to the road.
There are no vehicles. As we left the roadblock 3 - 4 cars arrived from the north.
There are 14 vehicles in the queue. A driver whom we approach tells us that he has been queuing for an hour.
Palestinians, among them the mayor of Beit Dejan, crowd around us and complain about the difficulties and the injustices perpetrated by the soldiers against them. On Saturday a driver from Nablus had his sick father in his car with him. The soldiers insisted that the father alight from the vehicle and cross the roadblock on foot. During the last Festival families from Nablus, wearing their festive clothes, came to visit their relatives in Beit Furiq and Beit Dejan: the soldiers prevented them from crossing and they were forced to return home.
The mayor of Beit Dejan told us that on Thursday he approached a soldier, wanting to speak to him. The response from the soldier was: "I don't want to talk to you, we are the Golani Brigade!" He adds that one of the drivers wanted to speak to the soldiers and they dismissed him out of hand, almost beating him.
One driver complained that the roadblock was opened at 6:30 a.m., instead of at 5:00 a.m., and he grumbled: "How can I work in this situation?"
A lorry in the queue, empty, turns back. It appears that the driver's patience had worn out.
8:50 a.m. At the roadblock
To our surprise the soldiers do not dismiss us, but are prepared to talk to us. They check car licences efficiently, without delay. We present the complaints of the drivers about the tardy opening of the roadblock to the commander. According to him the roadblock opened at 6:00 a.m., and that accords with his orders.
We monitored a driver from the time he arrived at the queue; it took him 20 minutes to cross.
There are few pedestrians at the turnstiles; the inspections are swift.
We leave and count seven cars in the queue.
There are no vehicles. Abu Bakar, who we met there, explains that it is due to the fact that the soldiers here today are decent.
There are about 40 people at the turnstiles. There are three checkpoints, a dog handler and her dog as well as the gorman.
The soldier inspecting the documents of cars entering Nablus is very unhappy to see us wandering about the roadblock and daring to cross the sacred white line. He complains about it to the DCO representative, 1st sergeant T., who apparently puts him in his place since we are not harming the country's security. This leaves the soldier with no choice but to follow us with his eyes, glowering.
We raise the issue of the opening time of the roadblock at Beit Furiq with T. According to him the roadblock should open at 5:00 a.m. While we are present he calls Heiman at the DCO who promises to deal with the problem. We passed the information to tomorrow's morning shift so that they can follow up what happens.
About 20 - 25 people are crowded into the humanitarian lane, the reason is not clear. We call T., who goes over and reinforces the inspection team.
The humanitarian lane is clear.
We leave the roadblock.