Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 15.1.08, Morning

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Judy D., Dvorkah O., (Reporting)

Translation: Rachel B.

We set out rather late after waiting for Yael who was on her way to Tel Aviv and could not arrive because of a problem with the train. We left without her.

On our way we saw that the openings in the fence around the village of Marda which lead to the road, were blocked by the army with barbed wire fencing, except, of course, for the main entrance to the village.  At Zeita the passage is blocked too.

Za'tara Junction: 8:50 AM

There is a line of 10 cars going from west to east and about 30 cars going from the  north to the south.

Huwwara: 9:00 MA

There are fewer than 20 people waiting in line., We left when there were on 10 people waiting.  The atmosphere was very calm, possibly because it's already late in the day.

Before we left a young man approached us, a taxi driver, and complained (in a very organized, logical manner in Hebrew) about abuse by the soldiers  of the residents of Beit Dajan who pass through the "Great Jordan Valley Checkpoint" (that was his term - we could not get a precise name from him).  These villagers have plots in the Jordan Valley that they have to get to through the checkpoint to cultivate.  The religious soldiers harass them, send them from place to place, subject them to aggressive questioning and repeated checks for no apparent reason. They treat them with contempt and humiliate them (even the elderly ones) and look for excuses for confrontations with them.  He told us that this has been going on for several days but was afraid to give us his phone number.  Finally he agreed to give me his phone number and I have it and, of course, will pass it along to whoever takes it upon themselves to investigate this situation.

Beit Fureik: 9:40 AM

There are 12 cars waiting at the entrance to Nablus and a few at the exit.  The checkpoint commander takes the initiative to talk to us: a conversation/argument that can be summarized as: ‘Why don't you bring cakes and hamburgers from Tel Aviv for the soldiers to show that we are not only here to support the Palestinians but also to support our soldiers."  There were about 10 soldiers there.  We asked them to open a second station to check people through to reduce the waiting time.  They, indeed, did open a second lane in each direction but the overall atmosphere was still of laziness and hostility towards the Palestinians.

Za'atra; 10:15 AM

There are 45 cars waiting in the lane heading south and only one station operating.  The District Coordination Office representative explains to us that the soldiers went off for breakfast... this in response to our question about when additional stations will be opened.  Before we had left the checkpoint, a second station was, indeed, opened.