Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sat 29.12.07, Morning

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Ora A., and Hannah B. (Reporting)

 Translation: Rachel B.


( Bethlehem via phone report)

We drove on Road #60 and found a "flying checkpoint" next to Shevut Rachel with three cars.  All the roads that connect to Road #60 from either left or right have been blocked with a yellow {cross}bar or piles of dirt and rocks.

A line of nearly 50 cars. Two terminals are open.  We did not stop, but immediately called the Humanitarian Center who promised to look into it.

The parking lot is not terribly busy and the pedestrian line for Nablus is empty.  The lines for people coming from Nablus are thin too and it takes an average of 20 minutes to pass through.  The commander of the checkpoint, Officer D. is polite and willing to listen to us.  The District Coordination Office commander, R., whom we asked to intervene to resolve the situation at Za'tara, went  there immediately and after a half hour we learned that the line had dissipated and passage through the checkpoint is going smoothly.  On the other hands, for cars heading from Nablus to the south it took an hour and a half to get through.  A dog handler and her colleague and a beautiful German Shepard are an important part of the slow proceedings at his checkpoint. The dog not only sniffs around the car, but is also put inside the car and climbs around the seats.  And for those who have forgotten - we are not at the entrance to New York or Tel Aviv- we are at the entry point from a Palestinian town to a Palestinian village. 
Another one of the harsh humiliations {of Palestinians} that we witness.  Let us not forget that it's only 10 kilometers between this checkpoint and the next one, where another dog will "visit" the cars. 
A driver who passed through on "Madison Road" was detained but we succeeded (so to speak...) in getting him released after two hours - a veritable "miracle."

The peddlers are allowed to sell their wares as the soldiers turn a blind eye to it.  Evidently reality is stronger than all {policies}. However, the schwarma merchant is warned not to set up his stall next to the entrance to the checkpoint the next day.

Beit Furik:
About 50 cars (!!!!!) are waiting in the line to get through the checkpoint and there is also a long line of pedestrians.  There is a lot of  justified anger.  We contacted the District Coordination Office and someone arrived very soon and after a short while the soldiers started checking people and procession them through the checkpoint at a  fast pace.  An argument started between some drivers and one of the soldiers decided that "it's necessary to punish" one of the drivers.  We intervened and warned the soldier that he is doing something illegal because he is not authorized to punish that person, certainly not for an argument among the Palestinians.  The soldier, of course, dismissed our comment but the intervention of the District Coordinator Office commander led to the man being released.  It's important to note that the soldier threatened the "unruly" driver that next time he will detain him for six hours.

As we have said - miracles happen even at the Beit Fureik checkpoint.

Bethlehem (report by phone)

At 5:00 AM on Saturday morning I got a phone call from the Ecumenical Escorts that the checkpoint has not been opened.  A complaint led to the checkpoint opening.  When we were at Beit Furik we got a very urgent call, again from the Ecumenical Escorts, whom we could barely hear because of the noise and yelling in the background.  At the place there was a serious disruption, apparently as a result of a fight or argument among the people waiting to cross the checkpoint.  Three blind women on their way to Jerusalem were detained.  The tension was very high.  After a consultation with Noa P. we decided not to contact any Knesset members, but rather to contact the Army directly.  Without any addresses for the police or civilian authorities (all closed for Shabbat) and no response from the Border Police, we contacted the Commanding Office of the Ezyon District Coordinating Office and the Regional Division spokesperson.

At the end, we found out from a later call, that the situation was resolved soon after our intervention.