Translator: Charles K.
While Barack Obama, the President of the United States, is in Israel giving a speech about peace – a notice posted on the fence of the Huwwara checkpoint announces the establishment of new settlements in Palestinian territory.
Note: While conditions have been eased at the checkpoints in comparison to what we’ve seen in the past, the occupier’s presence has been expanded, as will be seen from this report.
14:00 Habla checkpoint
We arrived as the gate closed. It will reopen only in the evening for laborers returning from work.
14:07 Eliyahu crossing
The driver of a car with Israeli license plates is having his documents checked as he leaves Israel.
14:13 An army jeep is parked before the Ma’aleh Shomron settlement.
14:20 An army pickup truck going in the opposite direction passes us near the Gil’ad Farm.
14:25 Jit junction
A new observation post has been
erected on the northern hill.
14:30 The Israeli police stopped a Palestinian car before the village of Asira al Kabaliyya to ticket it.
14:35 A military jeep drives toward us from the junction of Highway 60 and the Huwwara-Burin road.
We wait at that junction behind a military Hummer for a break in the traffic so we can both turn north toward the Huwwara checkpoint.
14:39 Huwwara checkpoint
Soldiers stationed in the observation tower at the checkpoint, the guard tower at the hitchhiking station at the exit from the Beracha settlement and the hitchhiking station at the settlement’s entrance.
Stones have been arranged in the form of a low wall
on the fence at the Huwwara checkpoint – where the
adjacent area has recently been “upgraded” – and carob trees have been planted, opposite the plaza that has also been “ungraded” – Who paid for the work? What’s it for?
It’s too bad Obama hadn’t been there and didn’t see with his own eyes how the settlements surrounding Nablus are choking the city.
There’s only one notice now on the fence from which the signs posted by the settlers were recently removed: “New localities in Judea and Samaria. To join, call [phone number]. The Nahalasettlement movement.”
14:40 A military truck turns toward the Huwwara DCO.
14:42 Awarta checkpoint
Closed as usual. No access to Nablus.
A military truck next to a military firing range located on the way to the village of Huwwara.
14:45 Beit Furik checkpoint
A minibus driver coming from Beit Dajan says that occasionally the army unexpectedly sets up flying checkpoints at the entrance to the village.
15:05 An army jeep drives through the village of Huwwara.
15:30 Za’tara checkpoint
Soldiers relax in the parking lot. No inspections.
16:00 The bus terminal at the Oranit settlement
We waited to see whether the police arrive. The police have been in the habit of making Palestinians get off the bus and not allowing them to continue. The police didn’t come. Let’s hope that continues. In any event, we’ll keep checking.
16:50 Azzun Atma checkpoint.
There was no congestion while we were there as laborers returned home through the checkpoint.
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.
15:15 Huwwara. The checkpoint was empty; normal traffic. We continued to Beit Furiq. Residents told us that soldiers come every day, block the entry to the village at a location different from where the checkpoint had been located, and inspect passing cars. They stay for about two hours, at a different time every day.
16:30 Za’tara. Not manned; cars cross with no problems. We continued toward Ariel. A number of soldiers stood next to the gate at the entrance to Kifl Hars.
17:00 Azzun Atma. No congestion. Only a few laborers arrived because it was already late.