Awarta, Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 7.4.08, Morning

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MoriyahF., Miki F. (reporting)

Translation: Rachel B.

Summer is at the door. No special events, nothing terribly disturbing.  There is only one detainee in the holding pen in Huwwara who is about to be taken for incarceration.  There is a pharmaceutical salesman here who has no permit to enter Nablus in his car because he is on the Security Services watch list (He can go in on foot. Why? Because...).

A group of 4th grade school children are on a trip from Beit Furik to Nablus and for a moment the soldier holds them up because they have no ID cards.  The occupation continues as usual, with all the limitations on free movement, sudden impromptu checkpoints replacing those that had officially been removed, etc.

Marda: 7:05 AM

The main gate is open.

Zeita Je'Ma'en: A cement block barrier blocking cars' entrance to the village is alive and well.

Za'tara (Tapu'ach Settlement Junction): 7:15 AM

There is a long line of cars approaching from Nablus.

Three positions are open and the cars are checked through without much delay, generally at about 40 seconds per car.  But the Reserve Duty soldiers on hand are new and are still learning how to do their work efficiently. Occasionally there are unnecessary delays.

This is how it is: every 3 weeks the Palestinians have to go through a new wave of "basic training" for the soldiers on duty, so today they will take another quarter of an hour to get to their destinations.

Moriyah counts the number of cars in line - about 40.  The Checkpoint Commander approaches us when she returns and asks her not to go to that spot again because it is dangerous.  There are also Border Police on duty.  The pleasant soldier who is conducting the checks is appreciated by those being checked - he lets them through quickly and declares: "I do not harass them; I try to process them through as fast as possible since they have to get to their jobs."

Beita: 8:05 AM

At the entrance to the village there is a military Jeep {with soldiers} checking cars entering the village at random.  They stop a minibus transporting school teachers.  "Regular procedures" which may make the teachers late for school and disrupt the school schedule, but "so what?"

Bourin Junction (Yitzhar Settlement) 8:15 AM

There is no checkpoint.

Beit Furik: 8:20 AM

Pedestrians and cars are passing through the checkpoint without any delays. 

8:30 AM: A school bus with students on their annual school trip arrives. The driver and three adult escorts get off the bus to talk to the soldiers.  The soldiers go into the bus to take a peek.  The delay is brief.  The soldier tells the driver he will have a problem permitting the bus to go through because the children have no ID cards.  Moriyah points out to the soldiers that these are children in 4th and 5th grade.  The soldier reconsiders and decides to exercise his reasonable judgment and not succumb to the daily message of fear {about possible terrorism} and allows the bus to go through.  "Have a pleasant trip"?

Ou'arta: 8:40 AM

There are 8 trucks in line from the direction of Nablus.  They pass through with no delays.  A pharmaceutical salesman from the Nassal Company who supplies pharmacies and hospitals in Nablus is not permitted to go into town with the company car.  He says that he passes through here every day without a specific permit and that today they won't let him through.  We called the Humanitarian Center and asked them to request that they let him go through.  Later on we met Tarek from the District Coordination Office who told us that this man has no permit to enter Nablus.  At the Humanitarian Center they report the same thing: the man is on the Security Services watch list and will not be able to enter Nablus in the car.  We gave him the information about the phone conversation and suggested that he try to get his name removed form the watch list. 

9:05 AM:

People are passing through quickly and there is almost no line.  There is a detainee in the holding pen. The Checkpoint Commander watches over him and refuses to let us speak to him.  At the Army Headquarters they are checking into it and later inform the commander that the man is on the "Wanted List" and will apparently be transferred to military custody.  The commander promises to take care of what he may need.  Rudi from the District Coordination Office who was on site, checked on the situation and said the detainee is being properly taken care of and refused to give us identifying information.

Unfortunately, we could only hope (probably a false hope) that they will let the detainee call his family and inform them of his arrest.  The pharmaceutical salesman is trying his luck at the Huwwara checkpoint.  The soldier gets mad at him and chides him that he tries to get through every day, as does the Military Police officer who tries to help and checks his ID card again, and tells him the same thing.  If he wishes to cross on foot through the turnstiles he can do so with the medicines carried on his back - no problem.  If so -what is the security risk here?  The God of the Occupation knows...

The only way to fight against the bureaucracy and it irrationality is through the Supreme Court, and even this option may soon vanish.

Yitzhar: 10:00 AM

There is a military Jeep here - an impromptu checkpoint, carrying cursory checks. We did not stop because we were in a hurry.

In Beita the military Jeep is no longer there.

Za'tara: 10:15 AM

There are 25 cars in line. The soldiers, as we already said, are new. The grinding of the routine of the Occupation.