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Huwwara: Soldiers in the Village

Israeli soldiers are well armed and wear heavy gear and helmets.

Huwwara is located just south of Nablus and the Huwwara checkpoint. The checkpoint is now a drive-through rather than the previously infamous caged-in walk-through checkpoint. Huwwara is also located just south of the Huwwara Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Base and near the Yitzar and Barcha settlements. The main highway through Huwwara is used by the IOF, Israeli settlers and Palestinians. Transportation speeds through the village because no traffic controls are permitted by the Israeli military.

Thus frequently it is possible to see military jeeps passing through Huwwara.

However, it is also frequent that military jeeps are seen passing through the streets of Huwwara and soldiers talking to children or taking a rest in a shaded area at the back of a recently constructed home. In the past year, a turn out road was made in Huwwara to pull over passing cars for whatever reason. At times one or two cars are pulled over.

In March 2010, some youth threw stones on the highway and may have injured someone, possibly a settler. Following this there was a middle of the night raid on the village in which 7 youth were taken from their homes and sent to prison. That same night the MPT house was raided by the IOF, but no one was in the house.

In the past week, twice MPTers noticed 4 Israeli soldiers walking single file through the entire village, one time along the highway and another time on a street inside the village. After seeing soldiers walking out of the village, MPTers assumed they had left and on their way home from a visit nearly walked into a parked army jeep on the highway. The MPTers were stopped by 4 Israeli border police, who are identifiable by their blue-green uniforms with a tower on the sleeve. MPTers were questioned as where they were from, where they were going, where they were staying, and what they were doing here. The soldiers told MPT that Huwwara was a dangerous village, that children threw stones.

The question is why are four Israeli soldiers walking single file through the entire village. In the last three weeks, in two villages within fifteen minutes of Huwwara, twelve young men were captured during middle of the night house invasions. Both villages had experienced encounters with the Israeli military in the village or at the entrance.

What is the Israeli military plan? Harassment? Future home invasions and capturing of young men? Show of power? Although villagers are “accustomed” to seeing armed soldiers and jeeps in their streets, tensions must rise when military patterns change.

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