Huwwara, Jit, Sat 8.3.08, Afternoon
Huwwarah, White Line, chapter 77
Immediately upon arrival at 14:15 we were told by the checkpoint commander to retreat to the white line.
We refused and explained that we took our present position in order to be able to observe the detainees' den, which we could not from beyond the white line. The commander "promised" to tell us, what was happening in the detainees' den if we only retreated (incidentally the den was empty throughout our shift).
We did not really "trust" this promise and did not move. He called the police. which arrived after one hour. 2 policemen asked us politely to observe the law and to retreat to the white line. We answered politely that the white line does not represent the law, but the soldiers' desire to prevent us from seeing what was happening in the detainees' den. They took our IDs. After 15 minutes one of them returned and asked us to retreat to the white line as a personal favor! to him. This involved us, of course, in a long and rather friendly conversation about our activities at the checkpoints and about the soldiers' desire to see us as far away as possible and about the doubtfulness of the legal validity of the white line, which was substantiated in a court decision of a judge who released a friend of us arrested on grounds of having transgressed the white line. The policeman promised to find out if the white line did or did not have legal validity and went to his colleagues for consultations. We saw them speaking with the commander and among themselves. After about 10 minutes he came back, said he could not get an authoritative answer, but suggested that we always carry with us a copy of the court decision concerning the white line in Huwarrah! We thought this was a good idea.
Huwarrah, the shift No segragetion. Probably because of the general closure on the territories there were relatively few people on their way and the pedestrians' wait was between 20 - 40 minutes. The car lines from and into Nablus were long and the checking slow. The driver of a van with toilet paper had to rearrange his load on the side line several times so that the floor of the van could be seen. Only then was he allowed to pass. A car with yellow licence plates coming from Nablus was detained. The driver, a dialyse patient, had to go to Jerusalem. He did not feel very well and asked to be released.We intervened and the man could continue his travel. At 15:05 a car from Nablus was checked and out of it stepped a bride all in white and with a white hood, accompanied by her mother who did not move from her side. In the dusty gray air of the checkpoint this apparition seemed to be unfitting and all eyes were turned to it in disbelief. The car was checked fast and the bride could continue to her wedding. Our guest Martha (a sociology student from Austria) asked several times if this checkpoint really divided only between Nablus and Huwarrah (a suburb of Nablus). She could not believe that this huge checking system was erected on this "improper" location. Only when we pointed to the vicinity of the settlements, did she seem to grasp the shocking design. We were told that at Jit juction dozens of cars were stranded and could not move. We decided to drive there.
Jit Junction, 16:00
We counted 64 cars, buses and trucks in the line when we walked along it in the direction of Jit junction, where a checkpoint was established. We were beseeched by the people who have waited in their cars for 2 hours or more to do something. Children have left the buses and played on the road and angry drivers were honking their horns to vent their frustration. When we arrived at the checkpoint, which consisted of a hummer and 4 soldiers, we heard that a hot alert was announced and that a car with a suicide attacker was expected to come through.The soldiers checked every vehicle slowly and thoroughly and this took 5 - 10 minutes each. We asked them to give priority to buses with children and women and they agreed. The problem was to convince the bus drivers to overtake the line and to advance: "Are you sure the soldiers will not be angry with us and make problems?" But the system worked more or less for several minutes and several busloads with children were processed in a short time. At 16:30 the soldiers suddenly collected their spikes and drove away on their hummer. In 5 minutes the congestion was dissolved and the cars advanced unhindered. Many drivers believed that this sudden change was brought about by us (which it certainly was not), presented us with sweets and waved gratefully good buy. We just have been at the right place at the right time.