Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 11.5.08, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
Shaar Shomron-Qassem (Entry to West Bank) Checkpoint 14:55
4 detainees sitting on the ground with their backs to the traffic. A policewoman holding their IDs, probably heading to check their numbers on the police computer inside the police car nearby.
Tapuach/Zatara Junction Checkpoint 15:35
No waiting lines, no detainees.
Huwwara Checkpoint 15:35
DCO representative – Tommer; checkpoint commander – second lieutenant Paz
X-ray truck active
Sniffer-dog and trainer too, in fully salivating action especially over car seat covers.
Three checking posts active
A demographic novelty at the checkpoint: female infantry soldiers. NI addition to the MP women. Especially in the vehicle checks. They do not secure the pedestrian waiting lines, at least not during our shift.
A short while after we arrived, a detainee – from Beita – was bypassing the checkpoint, got caught and sent to the concrete cubicle. He would be released later, at 17:45.
A very old and ailing Palestinian woman is carried-swung on a plastic chair for lack of other permitted means of transport through the checkpoint by two young men.
An empty truck is detained, arriving from Awarta. Its story, as Galit later found out, is as follows:
There is a water pipe laying project being carrie out in Beit Furik, financed by the European Union.
One of the companies involved is "Shaham", a subsidiary of Mekorot, the Israeli National Water Co., based in Holon.
The truck in question arrived from Holon with a Jerusalem blue ID-holding driver, collected the Palestinian engineer in Ramallah, (employee of the Palestinian office cooperating with Israeli organizations and the International Red Cross Committee).
Obviously this is a wide-range humanitarian project. The truck had transferred good worth about 170,000 NIS at the Awarta back-to-back goods checkpoint/terminal.
On their way back the driver (apparently not aware of the national status of the road) suggested to go have a cup of coffee at Huwwara, for which they had to drive some 100 meters from Awarta to Huwwara CP on the road forbidden to Palestinians (not only Palestinian vehicle, any Palestinian – be it passenger, pedestrian, even to just cross it from one side to the other on foot. We have yet to see a winged case.)
Let us not forget – the truck is Israeli, the driver holding an Israeli resident ID, and the engineer – alas – Palestinian.
Arriving at the roundabout by the Checkpoint, they were caught. Officer P.: "The Palestinian stays. The truck can proceed."
It did not. The commander detained the Palestinian in the concrete cubicle, and at 17:00 also took the driver's ID – for parking his truck by the concrete ledges outside the checkpoint.
The whole story with its international ramifications did not impress him one bit.
The Palestinian was detained at 16:40.
Galit called the army hotline and received the usual answers: he has no special permit for the enclosure period, and naturally no contact of a Palestinian body may be tolerated with this particular – unmarked as forbidden - road, even through an Israeli truck.
Later, wheels did seem to turn eventually for the deputy company commander arrive on the spot and even came to hear what we had to say about the situation.
At 18:15 the driver, the engineer and the truck were released. The shed emptied. We left.
Beit Furik Checkpoint 17:00
Observers: Noa P. and Tal H.
Very few vehicles, a trickle of pedestrians.
But – there must be a shortage of MPwomen – for if there are pedestrians coming out of Nablus. those who wish to enter must wait for a very long while in the entry turnstile. The Mpwoman's voice resonates shrilly: "One by one, what is this??!!! "
Stop, stop, where do you think you're going??!!"
The vehicle checks are relatively swift. Again and again the soldiers ignore the entry turnstile. The commander watches the people indifferently and ignores them. After standing there like scarecrows for half an hour, we felt it was time to get back to Huwwara.
we noticed two soldiers marching over to the taxi park. So we followed suit. Fortunately, for we had the privilege of witnessing an amazing moment: a Palestinian taxi driver with a tiny Palestinian flag hanging inside his cab was ordered to remove it! We watched, gaping, the driver removed nothing, drove on, and the soldiers thought twice, turned back and went back to the checkpoint.
Passing the Shaar Shomron/Qassem Checkpoint we saw it was empty of detainees.