09:30 Departure from the Rosh Ha'Ayin train station
09:45 Azoun Atma. At the CP there are a few soldiers. At this hour the Palestinians aren't here anymore. In a short while the road on which we drive will be closed for the settlers. For them a new road is being built, which will connect Elkana, Sha'arey Tiqva and Etz Ephraim directly to Israel. At the moment earthwork is being carried out on the route of the road which passes, of course, on Palestinian plots. Once the road is finished the present CP will be cancelled, Azoun Atma will be connected to Palestine, a new CP will be put up and Zion will be redeemed…
10:00 Tapuah Junction. Two trucks are parked near the bus station near which a settler from Yitzhar was killed. At the station there are a few soldiers.
10:20 We reach Huwwara. The town is very lively. Shops are open, Palestinian taxis pass on the road. A car decorated with balloons and colored streamers is parked on the side of the road in anticipation of the arrival of a groom and bride. Huwwara is an exceptional phenomenon in the west bank. A town which craves life whose tempo is so different from that of other villages around. At the deserted Huwwara CP we stop. We show the guest the complex installation in which hundreds of Palestinians underwent each day humiliation and wretchedness. As is to be expected a military jeep arrives within minutes and a soldier asks us to leave. Why? "Because this is the procedure. The genial soldier cannot explain to us what use there is for procedures when the CP is abandoned. Embarrassed he comes up with another reason: " because this endangers our post." In the middle of our conversation a group of soldiers arrives and begins loading on a tender their rucksacks and duffelbags. Evacuation? Changing of guards?
11:00 We continue in the direction of Nablus. At the Awarta CP there are a few soldiers. In the direction of Beit Furiq the CP is abandoned. At Beit Dajan the CP is open.
We return to the center of Huwwara. Stop at a Falafel stand. Two days ago, in the course of a tour led by Anat where I served as assistant, a few participants asked me apprehensively: "isn't it dangerous to leave the bus?"
If those people could see us, three Israeli women sitting leisurely in the pleasant sunshine, and eating falafel in the heart of a Palestinian town, they would no doubt be persuaded.
12:30 Back to Rosh Ha'Ayin. We take photos with the guest and bid her farewell.
Translation: Suzanne O.
On the radio they talk about the budding Intifada – around Nablus only the almond trees are in bud.
'Today the roadblock is not good' say the labourers. It turns out that one of the computer stations is not working and the exit queue moves very slowly. Tens of people crowd around the turnstiles. According to the labourers the waiting time is over an hour. The soldiers are not prepared to put in place someone to take notes manually. According to them their business is to take care of security and order not the welfare of the labourers.
At the entrance to the roadblock there is a new red sign. It does not prohibit the entrance to the village, just warns that it is dangerous for Israelis to enter. Is this not pronouncing a verdict?
There is no police presence at the exit from Israel.
There are no soldiers in the checkpoints.
Almost without our noticing it the settlers' buffet in the car park, which has been there for years, has been dismantled. One of those waiting for a lift says it has been removed because it had no licence. Has the law of the land reached settler country?
There is no military activity.
A military vehicle is parked at the side but does not interfere with the flow of traffic.
In the village itself the children are on their way to school. They have not heard on the Israeli radio that no schools are open on the West Bank so that the children are free to throw stones.
The yellow barrier still bars the crossing.
The roadblock is not staffed.
On the way up to Bracha – a soldier.
Heavy traffic of lorries exiting.
09:30 We entered through the Eliyahu Gate. Four Palestinian Police jeeps were standing at the road leading to Isbet Tabib. A short while later they passed us going in the direction of Nablus.
The main entrance to Azzun is closed with an iron gate and cement blocks. We were told that it had been closed for 4 days because the army claimed that there had been stone throwing at that point along the road. A car coming out of Azzun was going around the gate on a muddy path.
Huwwara checkpoint was empty and there was no sign of soldiers in that area.
At the Beit Furik checkpoint there was an army jeep but no one stopped a Palestinian taxi that went into Nablus
At the entrance to Itamar there was an army hummer. A little farther we saw another hummer and an army jeep, but we didn't see any unusual action.
We drove through Awarta and saw lots of children playing in the streets and the yards. We were told that there is a teachers' strike and the schools are closed because the teachers haven't been paid. That is because Israel is holding up payment of the tax money which is collected for the Palestinian Authority. Nice punishment. For what?
11:30 As we left through the Shomron Gate the guard asked Nadim his name. When Nadim answered the guard demanded to see all of our identity cards. Yes, we are all Israelis.
Translator: Hanna K.
A journey in the landscapes of Ruben and Guttman (Israelis painters) – if one ignores the army and the settlements
06:20 Azzun Atma: A calm CP. It seems the squadron became adjusted to its assignments and the soldiers are less tense. There is no long queue of waiting people. The soldiers allow the workmen to pass the turnstile and to approach the checking computers and thus the waiting time is shortened. A magnometer was installed and we returned to the well known sights of unfastened belts and emptying of the pockets. This adds another minute of delays on the way to the contractor's car.
SamariaPassage: There is no police at the exit from Israel.
07:05 Za'tara/Tapuah: There are no soldiers at the checking posts. A group of border-policemen watches from the nearby hill.
Yitzhar/Burin CPs: A military jeep waits on the roadside.
07:25 Beit Furik: No soldiers.
The streets of the village teem with children on their way to school, the girls going up the hill and the boys going down and all are of course in the middle of the road because nobody has heard here about sidewalks.
07:30 Awarta: The yellow arm still blocks the passage.
07:30 Huwwara: The CP is not manned. On the road up to Beraha settlement there is a soldiers.
Yitzhar/Burin CPs: The jeep went on its way.
08:00 Za'tara/Tapuah not manned.
Samaria Passage: Very sparse traffic.
13.40 Habla checkpoint. A bicycle rider next to the entrance at Habla gate waits patiently until he receives a signal from the soldiers that he can come to the checking room to. In the meantime the border policewoman is searching cars, inside and also the baggage compartment.
13.50 Eliyahu crossing….."This is considered a border checkpoint" tell us male and female soldiers who are present. They cast a glance at passing cars without checking them.
On road 55 we counted 3 military vehicles coming towards us.
14.25 Huwwara checkpoint. On the way to Nablus at the circle before the checkpoint (from which one turns to the settlements of Bracha, Yitamar and Alon Moreh) there is a new construction which is supposed to be ancient with new olive trees around it.
At the hiking post in the direction of the settlement of Bracha there is a guard in the sentry tower opposite the post and also a guard sitting at the exit of the settlement.
At the checkpoint there are sentry posts which are not manned.
There is an army vehicle next to the tower. Soldiers are removing food and water from it probably for the soldiers who are stationed there.
There are many Palestinian vehicles in the direction of Nablus as usual on Thursday afternoons.
14.40 Beit Furik checkpoint…we saw no soldiers
14.45 Awarta checkpoint. The yellow bar blocks the passage to Nablus.
15.35 Za'tara checkpoint.A small van is delayed by border police and sent on its way as we arrive.
16.15 Azzun Atma CP. Workers are coming home from the week's work on the settlements. They are checked behind an opaque plastic wall.
While we are there the line is not long.
A soldier accompanies two women and
three children who had been caught
going through an illegal passage.
Their IDs have been taken from them.
The commander says the IDs will be
returned to them after an hour
(one of the women says she was told two hours).
We were told that before we arrived some other Palestinians who had also been caught on the same road had been punished by being delayed.
9.14 The Eliyahu crossingis completely empty.
9.44 Huwwara CP. There are 3 soldiers at the checkpoint only checking cars leaving Nablus. One of the soldiers stands at the cement block with his weapon pointing at passing cars. A bus is delayed and the other cars go pass without being checked. (One soldier waves his hand like a traffic cop. Suddenly another two soldiers appear maybe they were in the bus? Another bus is detained and waits behind the first one. AN army jeep goes up from the circle to Griziem. A car and taxi pass without being checked.
10.10The bus is free and the one behind it is checked.
10.20 Beit Furik CP. Empty with little traffic.
The bar at Awarta CP is closed and locked.
10.50 Za'tara/Tapuach CP. No soldiers to be seen and also not in the sentry tower.
11.10 Salfit CP.Next to the entrance to Ariel settlement. One bar is open, another closed. Two soldiers at the entrance to Ariel open the checkpoint to taxis which pass without being checked.
11.30 Azzun Atma.This checkpoint of which there were rumours that it would be disbanded has become a real monster. Many cement barriers, passages, gates. And today it is much more difficult to see what is happening. An army jeep stands right inside and blocks the checkpoint. We did not see people waiting to pass.
Shomron crossing.7 cars in the direction of Israel pass swiftly.
The good news is that there has been much rain and the almond trees are in bloom.
6.15 Azzun Atma. It's raining all the time. There are a few workers next to the turnstiles and they go through quickly. The "Kfir" regiment's soldiers are welcoming. The sergeant tells us that this morning when they came to open the checkpoint 50 people were already waiting but now there are fewer and they go through quickly.
Shomron crossing.There are no police at the exit from Israel.
7.00 Za'tara/Tapuach. There are no soldiers at the checking posts.
At the checkpoints of Burin/Yizharno military activity.
7.20 Beit Furik.No soldiers
In the streets of the village the rain washes the streets and we do not see the children going their way.
Awarta.The yellow bar is still blocking the road. Also the large boulder is still in the middle of the road.
7.30 Huwwara CP.is not manned. The flags at the top of the tower have been replaced.
At the ascent Braha settlement is a soldier.
Za'tara/Tapuach CP. Two soldiers shelter from the rain at the post and do not stop the small flow of traffic.
Shomron crossing.The checking is quick as allways.
Translator: Hanna K.
At Azzun Atma the agricultural workers complain that there is a deterioration regarding authorizations for leaving the village given by the authorities.
06:15 Azzun Atma: A short queue, not many cars are waiting for the workers. People leaving say that this week "the CP is good". The soldiers of the "Kfir" regiment do not enable us to stand within the site. Clear signposts indicate to the workmen where to enter and from where to leave. Most of them take shelter in the newly erected hide-away because of the cold.
One of the workers complained that the policy of supplying authorizations to agricultural workers has changed. In the past his families received up to eight authorizations to leave and work in their fields which are situated beyond the CP. Now they give fewer permits and it is difficult for him to fulfill his workload.
06:40 Shomron crossing:The work has been completed. There is no police at the exit from Israel.
Za'tara/Tapuah: There are no soldiers at the checking posts, only in the posts around it.
The Yitzhar/Burin CPs: There is no military activity.
07:20Beit Furik: There are no soldiers. The streets of the village are quiet the children are on winter holiday.
Awarta: The yellow arm still blocks the passage. The big rock still lies in the middle of the road.
07:30 Huwwara: The CP isn't manned.
On the way up to Beraha settlement there is a soldier. There is one opposite the hitch-hiking station too.
In the square – energetic development work is going on. In its center a building is being erected, which simulates an arched archeological site, and around it there are olive trees. For the glory of the state of the settlers.
Za'tara/Tapuah: There are no soldiers at the posts.
Shomron crossing: The cheking is quick as usual.
13.50 Habla checkpoint. There is a little traffic. A Palestinian tried to take a used fridge
through to Habla village but the soldiers would not allow him to do so.
14.00 The Eliyahu crossing.Police are present and a dog manager and dog.
14.15Next to the village of Azzun.
There is smoke on both sides of the road. It is not clear where the origin is.
There is a smell of burnt rubber.
All along the descent to Nablus (from the village All along the descent to Nablus (from the village
All along the descent to Nablus (from the village
of Sara) 20 Palestinian vehicles wait in line without moving.
(The passage to Nablus continues with no problem).
In answer to our question the commander says, "It is an order of the last few days". He asks, "What are you doing here?" We reply, "Reporting on what we see." There were 5 soldiers stopping the traffic, road spikes and signs to stop. As we stand there photographing, the road spikes and signs are being collected and 10s of vehicles are allowed to pass with no checking.
IT WAS IMPORTANT THAT WE SHOULD BE THERE. We phoned the operation room to check why this had been so and were told that they would check with the unit. From there we got the answer, "There had been no checkpoint."
We told the operation room that if that had been a private enterprise of the soldiers it was worth the unit knowing about it. We suggested we send photos.
14.50 Huwwara checkpoint. At the sentry post we see a soldier. At the hitching post in the direction of Bracha settlement there is a new covered sentry post and inside is a soldier. In the building of the closed checkpoint (which had previously been used to check pedestrians) are two soldiers. The checking area of the cars is not manned.
For a change the banners which had been put up by settlers on the fence have been taken down.
15.00 Beit FurikCP…..not manned.
15.05 Awarta.The Iron bar is closed and locked.
15.10Next to the checkpoint of Burin-Huwwaraand road 60 is a jeep which is standing in the parking area in the direction of the village of Huwwara.
16.05 Za'tara/Tapuach CP…2 border police man the checking area but do not check.
16.33 Azzun Atma CP….The workers are returning. Sometimes a line forms and then empties.