Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 2.4.08, Afternoon

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Nava M. Millet S.

Natanya reporting.

14.20 Zeita
...The road is blocked with cement blocks and  the iron gate is closed. On our way back we saw that the entrance to Marda was open.

At the crossroads of Za'tara/Tapuach there are reinforcements of soldiers and military police. Two checking areas for cars coming from Nablus, 13 cars.

14.35 Huwwara.
On the fence before the turning to the parking lot are giant signs advertising the fund " the help to those fighting for the holy land" and "help for the Jews against the courts of law." We wondered whom this proclamation was meant for  and the ease with which settlers can use army fences to hang them.

As soon as we got to the parking lot a man came up to us and he had evidently been waiting impatiently for our arrivals. The taxi drivers acted as interpreters.
He said that his son of three had to go for a checkup to a hospital in Jerusalem and showed us the letter from the doctor. He was the only one of his family who could go with the child but he could not get a permit to enter Israel because 4 months ago he had been caught by the police without a seat belt and had got a report. Because he did not pay within the 90 days he is now on the list of those who are police refused.

We spoke to Naomi L. but were told that there was nothing that we could do as even if he paid the fine it would take a long time before his name would be removed from the list. She said that he should find a member of the family who could go in his place. But this is a problem for him. We told him to send his details by fax when he found someone and we would try to help.

At the checkpoint itself in the meantime everything is a usual. The lines are not all that long and all the checking areas are open. No detaineesinfo-icon. Americans who came through as we arrived said it had taken 8 minutes.

15.35 A young man who was very pleasant and spoke an excellent Hebrew came to tell us his story. He had married a Jordanian woman 4 years ago and since then they had lived apart. He could not get a permit for her to enter Israel and she lived with their two children which had been born in the meantime with her mother in a village next to Aman. He can go to her in Jordan but only for a month each time and if he stays there longer he had to pay a large find. Besides that he earns his living in the occupied territories and not in Jordan. He wanted to know if we knew of an organization which could help him. Nava took his details and said she would get back to him.

15.45 Beit Furik 
IT is quite, little movement and the soldiers are calm. Nava goes up slowly to the checking ara. And then one of the soldiers, the commander  makes a sign for her to go back to the white line because she is bothering them. When she says that she is only watching and not interfering he says that her watching embarrassed the soldiers.

16.15 Huwwara.
As soon as we get back here a drama ensues. The commander and 2-3 soldiers go after a young boy running towards the parking area. They catch him and take him to the isolation where he bursts into tears. He is handcuffed and question by the captain and two soldiers for many minutes. We can hear him crying. The representative of the DCO says that he crossed the checkpoint in the direction of Huwwarra illegally (through the turnstile at the entrance to Nablus, had run away to the parking area, changed his shirts and thrown a package which he had evidently wanted to take through. Now they are looking for the package with the help of a dog. The taxi drivers tell a very different story. They said that the boy seemed to them to be confused and not quite aill there. He had made a mistake going to the turnstile and then not known what to do and had stayed stuck where he stood. Some people shouted to him to run away and so he had run to the parking lot where they had changed his shirt but someone had tried to persuade him to go back to Nablus and he had been caught. An enterprising taxi driver had found out his name and managed to make contact with his father. It seems that the family had come from Jenin to visit someone sick in Nablus. The 13 year old boy had quarreled with his father and run away and got stuck at the checkpoint. His father came quickly. He was very worried and near tears. The commander ignored our efforts to speak to him and even the DCO tried to persuade him to let the boy go.  But the commander said he was waiting for someone to come and question him  and then that he was waiting for permission to free him. Time passed and the child is handcuffed and lying on the floor and the father is not allowed to speak to him  We decide to wait with the father until the child is freed.

There are also other detainees , 4 men who had gone on the aparthied road. The DCO says that in his opinion they did not know that the road was forbidden to them  and they have already been there an hour.

17.45 The child is at last freed with the father saying he will take him home immediately.  4 detainees are still waiting.  We go home after all these sad stories.