Huwwara Checkpoint, south of Nablus, today, January 7, 2010, 3pm:
The pedestrian waiting point is empty. For six months now there hasn’t been a requirement for the tasrikh, the permit for vehicular passage through the checkpoint. Obtaining the tasrikh was complicated and expensive. Many residents of the West Bank took a cab up to the checkpoint, crossed it through the pedestrian post, and then took another cab afterwards. Many would cram into one taxi to save on the costs of travel (1 shekel from Nablus to the checkpoint, another shekel from the checkpoint to the nearby villages: Huwwara, Bita, Burin, Udala).
It is a welcomed change. There is no need to switch taxis, and it is much easier to wait will sitting inside a car. The encounter with the soldier is also less intimidating from within a car. The downside is that not only is there no need for a tasrikh for vehicular passage, pedestrian passage is not allowed. The pedestrian checkpoint is closed, unmanned. Those who arrive there by foot, are sent back. The most natural means of transportation for people, their pair of legs, has been deprived from West Bank Palestinians. While the checkpoint is much easier to cope with now, it also presents a severe withdrawal of human rights and and freedom of movement.
The photos are of the pedestrian checkpoint at Huwwara, today.
Top: A closed gate at the exit from the pedestrian checkpoint.
Bottom: The checkpoint from aside. The concrete structure served as a solitary confinement cell.
The title is quoted from Vinicius de Moraes, lyrics of a Jobim song – “Sadness has no end, Happiness does.”