Awarta, Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), יום ב' 19.5.08, בוקר
Translation: Suzanne O.
The entrance to Marda is open and to Zeita closed.
Za'atra in both directions
From the north: there are three reservists working quickly, efficiently and politely. The inspection of passengers from a full coach took not more than 7 - 10 minutes.
At the main junction there are two lanes which function quite quickly, there are about 12 - 14 cars at any time during our stay.
Beita is open.
There is a mobile roadblock of an armoured car belonging to the military police: there are four soldiers and 11 cars, mostly taxis, carrying teachers and doctors on their way to work. All the cars had already crossed the Huwwara roadblock. There were no cars from the direction of Jit. The soldiers took all the documents from the cars at once. They inspected them very slowly, did not permit the people to come closer than 4 metres to the military vehicle, and sent them to the back if they did so.
When we got there people told us that they had already been waiting for 20 - 30 minutes which appeared to be reasonable seeing the pace of the inspection. The documents were returned to the passengers and drivers 35 minutes after our arrival. The telephone calls we made to every possible number illustrated that, at first, the Brigade denied that there was such a roadblock, and then, finally, at almost 9:00 a.m., we were informed that the roadblock had been removed; it is quite possible that it had been a ‘private incentive'.
One of the people said with bitter irony: "If there are no roadblocks there is no life, it's like water, like air".
After all the cars in the first round had left we told the soldiers our opinion of the pace of their inspections. The soldiers started to hold up cars again this time just from the direction of Huwwara. This time, until we left, they inspected the documents from each car individually.
The registration number of the military car is 6109183 and the regiment number is 322. We feel that a complaint should be lodged.
We met the DCO representative on his way to Yitzhar roadblock. There is no queue of people, none of cars and there are no detainees.
The tea/coffee vendor has put up an awning and seats of stones which have been gathered from the area, particularly he has put up a woven awning of mint bordered by boulders and decorated with sandstone rocks, thistles and large mallow. "Even the mouth of a lion can be furnished". (Yehuda Amichai)
There aren't many cars and the soldiers have two lanes working, according to the direction with the longest queue. They work quickly and politely. There is a dog handler. We did not see the dog working.
9 - 10:15 a.m.
There is no dog handler. The x-ray machine is present. There are no detainees. Cars enter; the soldier is efficient and polite...
Cars leaving Nablus: the inspection lengthens to 10 - 12 minutes. While we were there the inspections stopped for some 20 minutes. One of the soldiers said that the guards were having breakfast. The queue for the exit lengthened considerably as a result.
Three vehicles were parked at the side of the road, the drivers said that they had been held up for two hours, their keys and I.D. cards taken away, as punishment for parking at the entrance to the car park which is forbidden. They were permitted to leave about 10 minutes after our arrival.
Pedestrian queue: the women and elderly cross reasonably quickly.
The other queue is very, very slow, at any time during our stay there were between 35 - 40 people. The crossing from the middle to the head of the queue takes over half an hour. At first glance two lanes are functioning but in one there is a female soldier, chatting pleasantly with her guard, and letting people through little by little. Requests, via the DCO representative, that she speed up did not help. Possibly it was my mistake (Sna'it) in that I crossed the white line a little and got a little closer to her position to request politely that she speed up her inspection, after standing outside for about 40 minutes measuring the crawling queue. In hindsight, I understand that a complaint was lodged about it, and I apologise.
Unequivocal help was given by MachsomWatch: we saved a turtle slowly crossing the road at Huwwara, near the bus stop, from being run over.