Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 25.9.08, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
We left late today in order to be at the Beit Furik checkpoint at the end of the Ramadan fast, in view of how crowded it was there last week.
16:00 (15:00 Palestine time). Both entrances to Marda are open. The entrance to Zeita is blocked, to pedestrians as well.
13 vehicles waiting from the west at the Za'tara checkpoint. Two north-to-south lanes are open, and ten vehicles are waiting on line.
16:20 Huwwara checkpoint
The checkpoint is densely crowded. The pedestrian line stretches past the end of the shed.
Eight vehicles on line to enter Nablus. You can't see the end of the line of vehicles waiting to leave.
One detainee in isolation. A., the DCO representative, says he's being punished for butting into the line. He says he's already been detained for half an hour.
When Yehudit approaches the man in isolation the soldier immediately makes us move back behind the blue line (that's usually located on the other side of the checkpoint, next to the line off to the side for women and elderly men), and yells that we're interfering with his work.
16:45 Another detainee is placed in isolation. His friend, who's waiting for him to be released, tells us that he has a heart condition and doesn't have permission to go through, so the soldiers detained him because he dared go through the "fast lane."
The female MP checking documents doesn't stop yelling and cursing at the people going through. "Don't worry, dance, dance. Wait till you get to me," "What a dog!" A soldier stands on the rail between those waiting, pointing a pistol at them.
16:55 Another person is put in isolation, as punishment for trying to leave Nablus through the entry lane.
The middle lane closes for a few minutes so that five soldiers can stand in front of us yelling that we're breaking the law. We tell them to call the police.
17:00 Yehudit calls the humanitarian center and speaks to Neta regarding the detainee who's ill.
A small boy going through the "fast lane" is asked to open his bag.
Pedestrians still have to put their bags through the x-ray machine located in the white vehicle, and then return to the checkpoint in order to collect their ID cards.
17:20 Another detainee (they take his ID card, but don't put him in the pen) - punished for driving on the Madison road even though, being a Palestinian, he's not allowed to.
Meanwhile in the background the beeping and the yelling of the MP continues: "Yallah, nu, come on already!!!" A youth going through her lane is asked to raise his shirt and lift the cuffs of his pants.
A woman exiting the "fast lane" says that it took an hour to go through.
18:00 The first detainee (who was detained before we arrived, after he hadn't eaten or had anything to drink all day) complains that he was detained for no good reason. The female MP starts volleying curses at him, and he answers her. Among them: "Your mother's a whore," "Just wait, if you get out today I'm going to fuck you," "Fuck your mother, pimp," and more. The soldiers try to calm her down, and eventually find a creative solution: the detainee is taken from the pen and transferred to the inspection booth in the vehicle lane.
18:05 The second detainee (with heart problems) is released and says that there are still two more detainees in the pen, both of whom tried to leave Nablus through the entry lane.
At 18:22 they're both released.
A man who lost his ID card at the checkpoint approaches us. Since the DCO representative wasn't available, we asked the soldiers whether they found it, and they said no. We called the Nablus DCO, who said he should come during office hours on Sunday and report the loss of his ID.
18:30 We left.
There wasn't any crowd at the Beit Furik checkpoint between 18:00 and 18:30. The taxi drivers said that yesterday at this time it was terrible.
18:45 A detainee by the side of the road between Nablus and Za'tara, with Border Policemen. We didn't stop because Hamdan was in a hurry (he's also fasting).
Two vehicles waiting from the north at the Za'tara checkpoint.