Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 7.8.08, Afternoon
Charles K.- Translator
14:05 On the way to Huwwara: The northern and southern gates to Marda are open.
The entrance to Zeita is still blocked.
Za'tara checkpoint: one car waiting from the west to be checked. From the north: two lanes operating.
15 vehicles waiting.
A military vehicle stands at the Burin-Yitzhar junction.
14:17 Huwwara checkpoint:
The shed where people leaving Nablus wait is full. They report that they have to wait an hour and a half. Two vehicle lanes are operating.
About five minutes after we arrive a detainee is put in isolation. We have difficulty getting information from him. The checkpoint commander drops everything and hurries over to explain to us about the "blue line" that we're not allowed to cross, that "my checkpoint is a closed military area," and threatens to call the police "if we don't cooperate." He claims the youth was detained because he dared to go through the "humanitarian lane," and is being punished.
The commander says that he'll be detained up to three hours, unless he receives permission to hold him even longer.
The DCO representative at the checkpoint (T.) says he can't give us information about the detainee without the commander's authorization.
At 14:40 we call the humanitarian center and talk to T., who says he'll find out what's going on.
At 15:45 (when we were in Beit Furik) the humanitarian center reported that the detainee had been released.
The x-ray machine through which people going through the checkpoint usually have to put their bags through isn't operating (for a week now, according to the DCO representative), which means that the soldiers empty out the bags, going through bedding, clothes and food.
You can begin to see the route of the new checkpoint under construction to the northeast of the existing one. A photo is can be seen inour site.
15:40-16:20 Beit Furik checkpoint:
In our site (www.machsomwatch.org) a photo of the view from Beit Furik towards Nablus. Also a photo of the hilltop on which the village houses are built. The villagers are forbidden to go beyond the built-up area, toward the olive trees. They told us that people who tried to do so in the past were shot at. The checkpoint is almost empty. One vehicle lane is open. Five vehicles are waiting from each direction.
16:35-17:30 Back to Huwwara:
Two inspection booths operating. People going through complain about the thick dust in the air from construction at the checkpoint and from the quarry. One detainee in isolation. The DCO representative says he was caught about an hour ago trying to bypass the checkpoint and is being punished. He promises that he'll be released soon. He's released after half an hour. (we didn't manage to talk to him).
At the checkpoint we meet a psychologist who treats prisoners who were tortured. He tells us that sometimes he's allowed to go through the "humanitarian" lane, and sometimes he isn't - it depends on the soldiers.
Volunteers from the Ecumenical Church who passed through to the other side of the checkpoint tell us about 9 vehicles waiting to leave Nablus (at 17:20).
Pedestrians tell us that they have to wait about an hour.
We asked the DCO representative what the security justification is for the small number of people authorized to enter with a vehicle. He says that private cars that have authorization belong to doctors, lawyers, businessmen and "humanitarian cases." Regarding taxis - the army set a quota of permissions to be granted to drivers.
17:35 A police car stands at the Burin/Yitzhar checkpoint that is near Huwwara.
17:40 Za'tara checkpoint: One lane operating. Eight cars waiting from the north. From the west (also one lane operating) 15 cars.