Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 1.9.08, Afternoon

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Maki S. and Nur B.O (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

Translation: Ruth F.

On the first day of the Ramada there was a rolling checkpoint at the area between the villages Huwwara and Bieta.

12:30- Sa'ar Hashomron, we headed for Palestine.

12:45- Za'tara (Tapouah) - There was one vehicle from the west and three to the north.

12:50- On the road leading to Beita (at the beginning of it- about 200 meters after the turn) was a rolling checkpoint inspecting people exiting the village (the entrance to the village remand undisturbed).
A Hummer jeep was parked by the side way and two soldiers were checking IDs. The waiting time was short, after all it's just a side road.
The soldier told us unwillingly that it wasn't a "checkpoint but a blockage", that is a surprise blockage. The checkpoint was activated on the previous day since 12:30, and they couldn't say when they would take it down. We headed into the village to ask about that checkpoint. A local man said that the checkpoint had been activated each day for two or three hours for a month now (we will note that last week we saw a rolling checkpoint designed for those coming from Huwwara, not far away, on the main road in front of the junction with the road leading to Bieta).

13:20- Beit Furik
There were no inspections on either side, the passage was quick, there was only an inspection of IDs. R', the checkpoint commander was hostile at the beginning, "Yalla, stand back", and then "Who do you think you are, anyway?". Apparently he was new and this was his third shift, but he didn't have a clue who we were. He replayed "When the soldiers ask someone to open their vehicle they will always say "please", but if someone isn't standing right and a shouting is called for, then we'll shout at him".

13:50- Huwwara
The area north of the checkpoint had been completely paved, there is a road there and a concert path leading from the market and to it. The lot is surrounded by a fence. There are two small constructions at the side near the market, a stand and an apartmental protected space (that is the door and window were heavy). The constructors refused to tell us what they were doing. "They are from the army and I am a citizen". A' from the DCO said the current checkpoint would be taken down. It will be built all over again on the new lot, "it will be air-conditioned and will be more comfortable". The checkpoint commander said (regarding the stabbing attempt that morning), "The soldiers will be completely protected. Only the cubicles in which the soldiers sit will be air conditioned".

There were three inspection posts for men. There was a lane for women, children and elder men, not many  people were passing in it, probably because of the Ramadan. There were also only few men passing, the lines were short (and arranged exquisitely). The young men had to present their IDs and pass through the metal detector. The soldiers prodded in peoples bags in which they had food for the meal at the end of the fast/ belts were buckled all over again at the side of the checkpoint where we were. The waiting time for men was between half an hour to an hour. The fast and the sun made it very difficult for the elders. Some of them passed by us and their faces were very red, it looked as though they were about to pass out.

Traffic- At the entrance to Nablus IDs and permits were checked. The passage was quick. At the exit form the city the traffic was heavy. Passengers got out of the car just before the checkpoint, the driver came to the checkpoint allowed , the passengers made the rest of the way by foot. The car was inspected, its interior and the trunk, the passengers were sent with theirs bags to the x-ray machine. They later had to go one by one to the inspection post. Men lifted their shirts and turned, so the soldiers could see their backs and stomachs. They pulled down their socks so that their ankles could be seen as well. They presented their IDs. We timed the passage time- at the actual post, without including the waiting time, it took 4-6 minutes for each vehicle. 

14:20- After Maki intervened an old lady with a walking stick who was being supported by two relatives, was permitted to enter Nablus by the vehicle lane. She couldn't pass through the turnstiles.

A soldier said to a young man passing at the checkpoint "that is a woman's watch".

A' from the DCO told us that a minor came that morning with a knife and tried stabbing a soldier.  A' took his photo. He said to the minor "you will be going to prison". The minor answered back "I don't care. I can't stand what is been done to the Palestinians over here".

On the traffic signs at the junction before the checkpoint was a flag of the "Messiah".

Cab drivers asked us "how long will there be checkpoints?". "Forever", we said.

15:30- On the main road at the village Huwwara, some meters from the entrance to Beita (if you are coming from the north) was a checkpoint. A Hammer, an officer and two soldiers were pulling cars that were coming from the village Huwwara over. There was no interference in the passage from the other side. On the road to Beita there were no checkpoints. A deserted building on the side of the roads (Huwwara and the entrance to Beita) was covers with a camouflage net with the Israeli flag hanging on it.

15:40- Za'tara (Tapouah)- Two vehicles were standing at the post on the road from Nablus, three were to the west.