Atara, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sat 19.1.08, Morning
Translation: Hanna K.
There is a flow of cars from the four directions of the CP - the checking is arbitrary.
There are about 20 cars in the queue, but the passage is quick. Passengers of a bus stand next to it and are being checked - but the checking is quick and fluent. There are no women-soldiers dog-trainer.
There is very little traffic in both directions, and again we wonder why. In spite of the scarce traffic it takes on the average one hour to one hour and a half to pass. We again encounter the rude behavior of the girls who probably don't know better but to scream.
The dog-trainers are active and the dog barks incessantly and frightens the passers-by.
It is difficult to ascertain how many cars are waiting in the queue to enter Nablus, but the checking at the last station took about 20 minutes.
The DCO was represented by a soldier who didn't look as if he would succeed, in times of distress, to do anything against the CP commanders. He came to us out of his own initiative and tried to find out "whether everything is alright" - another occupation question that has no answer.
Beit Furik -
The IDF war against the shepherds:
Immediately upon our arrival we saw a military hammer starting up the hill, stopping near the pillbox and calling by loudspeaker to a shepherd who was grazing his flock on the other side of the barbed-wire on the slopes of the hill east of the pillbox station.
The shepherd approached the soldiers accompanied by two small children, one four and the other seven years old. We advanced to the place but kept a certain distance. After a short exchange of words the shepherd's ID card was turned over to the soldiers and after another few minutes the shepherd was taken on foot to the CP and was put in the solitary confinement shed. It turned out that he had committed an absolutely horrible offence - The shepherd is from Saalem and he passed, with his herd, the "Madison" Apartheid road and not just once but - heaven forbid - twice.
In the solitary confinement shed he was asked to take off all his clothes, kaffia, coat, sweater, shirt, trousers and shoes. The clothes were hung on the concrete wall next to the shed. After the door was closed on the naked shepherd, it seems that some thought must have passed in the head of the soldiers - as the door was again opened a few minutes later and the clothes were returned to the shepherd. When he finished dressing he was handcuffed and thrown into the detainees' enclosure. We began phoning, as we didn't only worry about the shepherd, but also were anxious about the lot of the small children who remained with the herd on the nearby hill. Later it turned out that there was another old man with them, about whom we didn't know whether he belonged to the group and to what extent he was able to act independently.
We began phoning and heard that "they must be taught that it is forbidden to cross this road".
When we asked whether one had to pass the sheep one by one through the CP we encountered an astounded reaction. "what kind of question is that - of course", and "the shepherd knows that it is forbidden to cross over the Madison road". We slowly lost our composure and the exchange of words assumed high tones.
We were unable to make it clear that the sheep and the shepherd who committed "a grave offence" do not endanger the security of Tel Aviv - we must be hard of understanding!
After we talked a few times with the humanitarian center and asked that at least the length of the punishment "for this serious crime" be shortened, or at least his handcuffs be taken off - we heard from the Center "that this man isn't handcuffed at all". Now we lost the last drop of equanimity which we still had "not handcuffed? After all we saw the process of handcuffing him with our own eyes - three grown up women which haven't lost yet their minds and their understanding, stood and saw him being handcuffed" - but to not availe - the man is not handcuffed, thus the soldiers reported. We waited as long as we could. but after and hour and a half we were forced to leave- desperate and terribly angry.
Now all of us know who here is the "distinguished educator" and who is the hero against whom, and to what abysses of cruelty and baesness the occupation can fall. And not one of all the soldiers who were there didn't think that there was something improper and out of order in this event - after all what did happen, only one Palestinian shepherd "dangerous for this country" and a few lies!
The pedestrian traffic was typical for Saturdays and the passage was quick. There was no car queue from both sides.