Hundreds of people wait at Huwarra checkpoint when soldiers closed it completely on Thursday
At Huwarra checkpoint on August 10th at 2:30, there was a crowd of up to 300 Palestinian people waiting to cross. The soldiers stationed at Huwarra checkpoint would not let anyone through and were aggressive and violent towards the crowd. Instead of standing in orderly lines of one or two people abreast, with their ID-cards ready, the men, women and children were spread out across the entrance of the checkpoint.
About twenty Israeli soldiers were shoving, yelling and poking their guns into the chests of people in the crowd, attempting to make them “get back”, “shut up” and “go into the pen.” The frustration of the Palestinians mounted at the closure of the checkpoint. Old men, mothers with children and shoppers of all ages were determined to push through the line of soldiers and refused to back off. People continued to make problems for the soldiers despite the fact that Israeli soldiers had fired live ammunition into the air only ten minutes before.
A female soldier attempts to remove the hijab of a woman wanting to cross the checkpoint
After some time, the frustrated crowd decided that old people and women with children should be allowed to pass. As two cars filled with Red Cross personnel backed up to wait on the side of the road, elderly Palestinians picked up their bags and simply walked through the car lane. Exasperated, the soldiers started checking their ID’s, pretending that this had been their plan all along. As the crowd started thinning, with several people pushing through at the same time, the military finally gave in and opened up the regular entrance to the checkpoint.
Perhaps as a form of retaliation, one of the female soldiers started checking each person who passed through her lane in a very rough manner. She grabbed several women’s hair, almost pulling their headscarfs off, and patted their breasts for an unnecessarily long time. The same soldier also inspected the men, groping their behinds and waist area in a culturally inappropriate and humiliating way. After some negotiation with a commander, the men were inspected by a male soldier.
The checkpoint at Huwarra will be full of people yet again being refused passage tomorrow, or at any time, but today people were able to use civil disobedience to force their way through.