'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 31.3.09, Afternoon
Little traffic at Huwwara because of the removal of the checkpoint at Beit Iba. The Palestinians ask what will be with Huwwara. The drivers complain that they cannot make a living.
12.30 Shaar Ephraim. Trucks with trailers. "Kardosh from Nazareth" has been pasted on the sides, At the exit from the West Bank 5 trucks carrying armoured vehicles.
Za'tara CP. Empty of cars.
Beit Furik. 13.10
Wearers of red berets man the checkpoint. The checking is random and other cars duck away from the eyes of the soldiers. The drivers hesitate a moment before the checkpoint in case they may be caught for a random check and then they put on speed and go past. We feel from afar their sigh of relief.
13.20 Awarta. No cars in line.
No many people. The taxi and buses drivers and tell us about the problems of timing. Not enough get through because of Beit Iba having been removed. "People whose cars have stood unused at their homes for many years now take them to get where they want with the family. Also students prefer to stay in the city where they are studying and so the pressure on Thursday afternoon and Sunday in the morning is greater."
Drivers and people from Huwwara ask us again and again about what will be the fate of the checkpoint at Huwwara. Their tone is pessimistic. One driver went even further and fantasized that he wants the checkpoint to continue in a luxurious way. The others say that he must be crazy and should be hospitalized.
The lane of cars goes swiftly. When we come there are 3 lines checked by the wearers of red berets who seem very efficient. 7 minutes for a taxi filled with people. Later there were only two lanes and 17 cars piled up...took 15 minutes. Now the dog trainer is also more active.
N. of the DCO . We ask about the shooting of Ibrahiem Ali of Jamaiem last week. He was badly wounded and is in hospital and it seems his leg will be amputated. N. says he passed at night at about 23.00 with two buckets in which were metal poles for making fences. He wore a long coat. The soldiers shouted to him to stop and when he did not do so shot at him and he was wounded.
A young man is detained as his name appears in the list that the soldiers have. His cousin is waiting and says that every day he is caught even though he has been to "Hagai" at the DCO. We ask N. to ask and free him and he does so.
12 cars from Nablus. 3 Palestinian cars are checked by police, a dog trainer and dog with a soldier guarding her. The drivers are sent away until the check is completed. A new car gets very special and thorough inspection.
15.30 Before the village of Ariel a police car stops a Palestinian car in a very unsafe area and checks.
At the roundabout at the turning to Kifel Haris 3 soldiers stand with rifles at the ready.