Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 24.7.08, Afternoon

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Michal S., Yehudit L. (reporting)

Translator:  Charles K.

13:30  On our way to our shift H. tells us that Ramallah radio just reported incidents involving settlers from Yitzhar:  they're throwing rocks at Palestinian cars on the road, damaging infrastructure in the village of Burin, a settler grabbed a soldier's weapon and fired into the air  (We read in the paper a few days earlier that this is their current mode of operation) when IDF soldiers removed a bus from the settlement.

14:12  Marda - both gatesinfo-icon are open, Zeita - as usual; the entrance is closed.

14:15  Za'tara -
3 vehicles waiting at the western checkpoint, 4 vehicles waiting at the two northern checkpoints (from Nablus).

On the way to Hawwara, on the side of the hill (toward Yitzhar), we see smoke rising, partly concealing the village buildings (pic on the right).  

14:28  Yitzhar-Burin CP - on Route 60 is manned - a Hummer standing perpendicular to the road. 
One vehicle being checked.

14:29  Huwwara CP -
We report settlers throwing stones at vehicles:  today, yesterday - it's become a habit. 
A driver shows us where his vehicle was struck: it will cost him NIS 650 to replace the windshield.  (photo on the right).  The drivers don't complain to the police because when they do so, they receive a traffic citation.   A., from Yesh Din, promised to talk to them.

We're told about beatings at the Azzun-Atma checkpoint.

Considerable pedestrian traffic in both directions; the shed is full of people waiting to be checked:  youths are being checked in three lanes, the magnemometers are beeping, people are removing their belts, showing items to be checked, ID cards; today, at least, we don't hear the usual shouting of the female MP's. 
There are many officers at the checkpoint today.

A lane off to the side crowded with women, children and elderly men.  Students going home for the weekend.  There's an X-ray vehicle for checking belongings; we didn't see a DCO representative; there's no dog or dog handler.  The vehicle lane entering Nablus isn't crowded; it's impossible to count the number of vehicles leaving Nablus.  The vehicles leaving are carefully checked - passengers get out while the vehicle is checked and wait by the side until their ID cards are returned.  Two French tourists laden with large hand luggage look for a way to get through, since they won't fit through the entry turnstile to Nablus.  We showed them the way to the vehicle lane.  It took some time until they were allowed to enter Nablus - after they identified themselves and their belongings were searched.

Two yung men carrying a new twin-size mattress ask to go through the wider vehicle lane.  The checkpoint commander tells them to put the mattress over the fence (that is about 2.5 meters high...).  It took him a little while to realize that his suggestion made no sense - agreed to let them through the wider vehicle lane after checking their ID's.  The officer, the men, we ourselves - all of us get confused and troubled trying to get a new twin-size mattress through the checkpoint.

15:29  Beit Furik

One lane, as usual, to check vehicles coming from both directions. A line of six vehicles coming from Beit Furik forms while we're there, waiting to be checked, from Nablus a long line, reaching past the curve - so we can't see how many are waiting altogether.  Pedestrians wait about 10 minutes in the shed.

On the way back to the Huwwara checkpoint we can count (from the road next to Awarta) - 12 vehicles waiting to be checked at the exit from Nablus.

16:09  Huwwara CP - A detainee in isolation.  He belongs to an organization that doesn't appear on the list of those the IDF recognizes, so the police have been called to interrogate him, and his ID is being checked.  [Hanna B. says that his organization - Al Haq - is a human rights group affiliated with Hamas, and that's why he's being held].  When we called later, his brother told us he'd been released at 18:00.

16:32  Yitzhar-Burin CP is empty.

Za'tara -
5 vehicles waiting to be checked at the northern post, two soldiers with pointed rifles stand on either side of a detainee in the middle of the parking lot. (we didn't stop because of a medical problem). 

Shomron Gate is crowded entering Israel; heavy police presence in the other direction.