Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
Deir Sharaf, Habla, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Thu 22.3.12, Morning
The new checkpoint Deir Sharaf, west of Nablus and just below (south) of Shave Shomron settlement, a kilometer from the village of Deir Sharaf, began operation in March 2009 when Beit Iba closed. Permission to cross the Deir Sharaf checkpoint into Nablus or, via Route 60, towards Jenin, is given to Palestinians, but not to Israelis. Differing from the crossing points into Qalqiliya and Tulkarm, Palestinian Israelis are allowed to cross the checkpoint only on Saturdays.
Habla, Dir a Sharaf, Anabta, Irtach 22 March 2012
Translation: Suzanne O.
The gates opened at 6:00 a.m. (they are open until 8:15 a.m.). On our arrival there were no people on the other side of the Palestinian gate. The last group left after inspection. Later there were only a few people crossing. We left at the arrival of the first school bus.
We drove in the direction of Road 60 so as to get to Dir – a Sharaf. On the way we were held up by a big traffic jam on both sides of the road. Near Alfei Menashe there was a group of police who signalled us to slow down but did not require us to stop. Only later, when we had moved further on through the jam did we understand: near Kdumim a Palestinian lorry had shed its load of sacks of cement on and around the road. A huge cloud of dust was in the air. Police directed the traffic and moved one car at a time.
Dir – a Sharaf
We drove via the village of Sara. The traffic to and from Nablus flowed unimpeded. In conversation at the grocery shop we were told that the day before (and first thing in the morning) settlers from Gilad Farm invaded one of the outlying houses in Jit and took/kidnapped some of the family. In response people from the village started off towards Gilad Farm, but the army, who had arrived meantime, stopped them confronting the settlers. During the melee which ensued the Palestinian family were released. These serious details should be looked into further.
In Dir - a Sharaf
Close to the old turning to Shavei Shomron the road is being widened to become a dual carriageway, with finance from the EU of course. We saw two young women there busy counting the vehicles passing by for a survey. The very fact that women are employed in this area is encouraging.
There is still no petrol station in this busy area, although an application was submitted quite a while ago.
On our way back we went into Irtach/Sha'ar Efrayim. There were still 'vans' belonging to private tour companies in the car park. Labourers were already nowhere to be seen. On the other side of the fence was a large group, mostly women, getting on buses to visit prisoners.