Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 21.7.08, Afternoon

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Maki S., Nur B., Noa P (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

Translator:  Charles K.

The morning news reported that 18 Hamas activists were arrested last night in Nablus.

12:45  Opposite Ariel - the momentum of development continues.

Marda - Both the western gate and the main gate are open.

A man and woman stand next to the main gate, apparently waiting for a taxi, in the burning heat. 

Zeita Jama'in - closed.  Still closed.

12:55 Za'tara.

11 cars waiting from the west.  The check is superficial.

In the middle of the square is a soldier guarding the "Menora" (lamp).  At the exit to Nablus a soldier is stationed at the hitchhiking point.

A detained bus leaves as we arrive.

From the north:  19 cars waiting, two inspection lanes operating.

13:15  Beit Furik

No cars in the upper parking lot.  One car visible on the approach road to the checkpoint.

The coffee-seller, in response to our question, "How's it going?", says, "Today is good."

The soldiers complain about our presence: "How come they're here again" and "It used to be Purim; now it's the Ninth of Ab" - and we learn that we were preceded by the Women in Blue and White, who brought them drinks and candy.

The checkpoint commander comes over and asks us to move back to our place behind the white line.  A discussion, and we insist on our civil right to remain where we are.  The soldiers don't like the idea, but the checkpoint continues operating as before, despite us.

A car leaving Nablus isn't checked.

Few people going through the pedestrian crossing.  A soldier checks a bag carried by a Palestinian woman - pokes through it with the barrel of his rifle.  A truck leaving Nablus has only its documents checked, but the driver is made to get out and show his license to the soldier, and only then permitted to get back in and drive on.

An MP comes out of the area where cars are checked, looks at us - and spits off to the side.

13:40  Odala

Palestinians in the parking lot tell us that 15 minutes earlier two rockets were fired - they say by settlers from Bracha or Yitzhar - one at the village of Odala (between Huwwara and Awarta) and the other at Burin.

Nur and I get a Palestinian cab and go there to take photographs.

When we arrive, the rocket, that didn't explode, is still burning.  It's about 40 cm. long, and hasn't any military markings.  A Palestinian policeman is there, and one of their photographers.  We spoke to Hani, the head of Odala village, who told us that this is the third time its happened recently.

We reported it to N. in the humanitarian office.

14:05  Huwwara

At the checkpoint:  In the absence of the DCO representative, all the women, regardless of age or what they were carrying - students with their books, women with children and babies and all their belongings - were sent over to the X Ray truck.  It's particularly hard on women with small children.

When I., the DCO representative, arrived, the line moved a little more quickly.

In response to our question about why the line is handled that way, I' replied - the checkpoint commander's orders.

The express lane is set apart by plastic barriers - sometimes women wait for a few minutes until the woman ahead of them returns from the X Ray truck to get her documents.

I', the DCO representative, comes over again to E., the checkpoint commander, and succeeds in freeing things up slightly.

On the regular line: A man exits, says he waited two hours.

Someone else reports waiting ten minutes at the checkpoint.

A young man with an orange plastic bag stands under the guard tower as if being punished, next to the X Ray truck.  After a few minutes two soldiers call him over and talk to him.  He's released, and we couldn't find out what was going on.

Cars entering Nablus pass through quickly.  A taxi arrives with an elderly woman, yelling and crying; I' the DCO representative says to let her through immediately.  Apparently someone died, and she's mourning him, so he didn't see any reason to delay her.

We left the checkpoint at 3 PM in order to return to Odala, at the request of reporters. 

We took photos again, also video, and we even interviewed one of the witnesses there, who saw the rocket land from where he worked, in a nearby packing house.

The rocket was still burning when we arrived (15:20), and soon after us a Palestinian TV crew arrived, and the Palestinian police, who marked the location with tape in order to keep civilians away from the rocket.

No one from the IDF came, nor from the Israeli police.

At the reporter's request we immediately left for Tel Aviv in order to transmit the material as quickly as possible, in time for the 8 pm evening news program.

15:40  Za'tara

We got stuck in an enormous traffic jam, that we couldn't even bypass.  We reported it to the humanitarian office, and after a few minutes were able to get by, passing more than 60 Palestinian cars (we stopped counting at 60) waiting to be checked, even though two lanes were open.

19 cars were waiting at the same time from the west.

We reported it to the humanitarian office.