Translator: Charles K.
06:00 Azzun Atma– A man approached us when we arrived. The police don’t allow him to work in Israel; he’s able only to reach his lands. It’s been eight months. We referred him to Sylvia.
The checkpoint “under development” is partially blocked by two concrete barriers. When we entered an MP tried to make us leave. After an argument he agreed we could stand beneath the guard.
About 70 people on line. A woman stands to the side. She tried to go through the fence; now she’s waiting for her ID.
07:00 Habla– Few people on line, as well as a tractor and wagon.
07:35 A bus arrives with children. The driver enters to be inspected, returns to the vehicle, drives through the gate, opens the luggage compartments. Then a female soldier boards to check within.
08:00 Arab al Ramadin– We learn a school was established in the village for the little children who were afraid to go through the Habla checkpoint.
We met Himam, the principal. She lives in Qalqiliya, speaks English fluently. She described the humiliations the teachers undergo on their way to the village. Sometimes they’re forced to undress completely.
The school has 23 children in three classes – first, second and third grade. It’s “constructed” of tents made of heavy plastic sheeting.
13:40 Habla gate. Nothing special; it closed exactly at 14:00. We drove from Huwwara to Beit Furiq; eveything’s deserted. We returned to the Huwwara checkpoint at 14:40; it was manned.
Inspections were conducted randomly, but vehicles selected were carefully checked.
15:20 Za’tara is manned, no inspections.
15:25 A Hummer stood at the entrance to Kifl Hars, a few soldiers alongside.
15:45 Azzun Atma – no congestion. Four soldiers walk along the fence to ensure that no one will sneak through a gap – God forbid. (We drove along the fence from the direction of Sha’arey Tiqva and saw about five gaps.)
The area is quiet, but a bus of children is delayed at the Eliyahu checkpoint, on its way to take the children to school; the children were certainly late for school.
06:16 'Azzun 'Atma
Fewer people than usual were waiting outside at this hour. About 70 people in line and all in the covered area. There is also a cement track with a turnstyle that is presently not in operation. The village people who have a permit also for crossing at night pass through the gate in their cars. In 3 minutes, 16 people went through, so that those waiting should get through within less than half-an-hour. According to the soldiers, the line was about this long from the opening hour and, only on Sundays when those people having permits for the whole week go through, is the line any longer.
06:35 We went to the Tamar gate from the northern end of the road leading to it. There was no army and no one was going through though, according to our information, the gate is open from 06:30 - 07:00. We traveled around the entrance, from the direction of Oranit, and, also there we didn't see anyone. A call to the DCO provided the answer: we will check. We waited a little longer and then continued on our way to Habla. A number of additional calls to the DCO did not provide any new information and then a call to Tedesa gave us the information that for the past week the gate has been open only from 06:00 - 06:30.
The gate was already open and people were passing through. No one was waiting in line and everyone who arrived goes through immediately. (As we know, the gate opens at 06:30 so one can understand that everyone has already gone through, in spite of the fact that at other times this was not the situation).
07:30 Eliyahu gate
There are no pedestrians in line but, in the inspection area for vehicles, the childrens' buses are standing (as usual, empty on the way to Ar Ramadin). We waited until they went through and then traveled behind them to Ar Ramadin; the children were already waiting and got on the buses right away. The buses went through the checkpoint at 07:40. The drivers said that they had waited at the checkpoint for inspection for more than 30 minutes, which was because the inspectors preferred to check the private cars first, even those that arrived after the buses! Clearly the children were late for school where they were supposed to arrive by 07:45.
Because of last week's reports, we decided to go to Huwwara. On the way from J'at, in the direction of the Huwarra junction (road #60), next to the descent to the village Madama, a jeep was standing, but we couldn't discern any activity.
08:20 Yitzhar junction
A jeep and soldiers in the direction of Huwwara set up a flying checkpoint and inspect cars.
There are no soldiers in the area of the checkpoint and the crossing is free. Within the turnoff to Beit Furiq there is an active construction, probably for improvement of the roundabout. There is a sign on the fence showing the way to Itamar with hiking symbols. When we returned to the Itamar junction, the soldiers had already taken it down.
08:45 Junction of Za'tara and Tapuach.
There are no soldiers at the junction; free crossing; there were soldiers in the booth opposite the junction. On the fence around the parking area, Bennet's campaign workers were hanging election posters again.
Today’s a holiday on the West Bank. Schools are closed, many people in the streets, heavy traffic.
12:55 Habla. 10 men wait to enter.
13:00 The gate opens on time. Three horse carts enter, one loaded with fresh cauliflowers. The first five people enter the inspection station. A truck and a pickup truck loaded with olive trees leave the village. No lines; the crossing flows in both directions.
13:25 We leave.
13:30 ‘Arab a-Ramadin. About a month ago they finished building a school. Four structures covered with white plastic sheeting and roofed with green canvas, three classrooms and a teachers’ room. One of the teachers is from the village and three are from Qalqilya. The school has 50 pupils in grades 1, 2 and 3. The older pupils attend school in Habla or Qalqilya. A., the mukhtar’s son, tells us the school was built on land owned by his family. The school was issued a demolition order. We write down phone numbers in order to contact the attorney who’s dealing with the order on their behalf (in two weeks we’ll return to take photographs).
14:00 Nabi Elias. We stop for falafel.
14:20 Azzun. We stop at Z.’s shop and unload parcels we’ve brought him. He won’t let us leave unless we have coffee.
15:00 Kafr Laqf. The yellow bar is raised. We enter a well-kept village, clean, with sidewalks. The curbs are marked with red and white or black and white stripes. The grocery clerk says there are no problems. It’s quiet and good in the village. A man from Ginot Shomron who’s in the shop says, “He’s a wonderful man. I’ve known him for 30 years. Him and his father.“ We enter more stores and talk to people. Everyone says that the army comes infrequently, makes a circuit and leaves. The village has 700-1000 people. Some have work permits in the settlements and in factories, some have work permits for Israel and everyone has agricultural land.
With respect to building – they’re not permitted to build at the entrance to the village, but inside there aren’t any problems. We see many construction starts (What area is it? C?)
16:00 Shomron checkpoint. Vehicles cross quickly.
Azzun Atma. About 40 Palestinians on line for inspection. Settlers’ vehicles stop, Palestinians get out and join the line in the shed. One says it takes hours to cross. We decided to time it. 5-6 people enter; the crossing flows. Only two booths are open. The person we watched reached the inspection station in 20 minutes. The soldier in charge of sending Palestinians for inspection wears a skullcap, speaks quietly and politely. That seems to have an effect on those waiting in line. Everything goes relatively peacefully. We ask another soldier what it’s like in the morning, and why the Palestinians wait for hours. He says those arriving at 03:30, though the gate only opens at 05:00, wait a long time. He’s a reservist, works in hi-tech, thinks the gate is equivalent to an actual border crossing and the afternoon inspection of people returning to the village is necessary to close the circle. He believes in the mission he’s been called to carry out…While we’re there a soldier stands pointing a sub-machine gun at the people on line. The occupation routine.
13:40 Habla agricultural gate. The gate is open. Not many people crossing. It turns out that the gate is open in the afternoon only from 17:00 to 17:30!! People complained about it last week so we called Tedesa at the DCO. We told him of the complaints, and that half an hour in the afternoon isn’t enough time. While we were speaking to him the owner of one of the plant nurseries arrived to complain, and since Tedesa said that none of the locals had complained – we gave him the phone. Unfortunately, “there weren’t any complaints,” because the owner of the plant nursery preferred to say that everything was fine (every subject knows the lord is always right) – you can’t blame him.
On the way to Huwwara there are no road signs identifying large, significant Palestinian localities along the road (Nabi Elias, Funduq, Kafr Imtan, etc.). That could be a good project for “Combatants for Peace” – to erect signs at the entrance to those localities. Who’s in contact with them?
14:40 Huwwara checkpoint. Manned by soldiers and MP’s. They inspect every vehicle and there’s a fairly long line (more than 12 cars). One car was delayed longer than others while we were there. A soldier makes a call about that car; we learned later it was missing a license plate. But in the meantime that allowed some cars to cross without inspection. An additional vehicle arrives – a passenger in the back seat has to get out, is questioned and a few minutes later gets back in and the vehicle drives on. A military ambulance stands near the checkpoint.
15:40 Awarta (Tapuach) junction. We counted 21 cars waiting. They’re inspected one by one.
Driving west, next to the road to the west of the center of Ariel are various tractors and some temporary buildings. Does anyone know what’s going on there??
16:05 Azzun Atma. About 40 people on line when we arrive. All stand beneath the new, covered crossing. Only two booths are open. The soldier we ask about opening an additional booth says there are only two MP’s and four soldiers for security. The soldiers are religious but polite, those crossing are tired but obedient…
We learned a relatively new term, “00”. They say, “00, come here.” It turns out that workers in quarries, recognized factories and people who live on the other side of the road don’t have to go to the booth; they just have to show the soldier their permit. The permit is timed: from 05:00 to 17:00; some are valid from 12:00 to 24:00
There is a strike of the civil servants on the West Bank because their salaries have not been paid. The roads are empty of children going to school.
06.25 Azzun Atma Maybe because of the promised rain or because of the efficiency of the soldiers the line is not especially long. It is good that the sheds on both sides have been completed and both Palestinians and soldiers are protected from the winter weather.
The Shomron crossing. There are no police at the exit from Israel.
6.55 Za'tara/Tapuach. The soldiers are at their posts but do not interfere with the traffic.
Checkpoint Yizhar/Burin. No army activity
7.20 Beit Furik. No soldiers
7.25 Awarta. The yellow bar still blocks the passage. The big rock is also still in the middle of the road. Big red sign are placed opposite the no entry to Nablus and also opposite the turning to Awarta and warn against entering Area A.
7.30 Huwwara. We did not see soldiers in the sentry post.
At the ascent to Bracha settlement is a soldier.
7.45 Za'tara/Tapuach. Border police are at the posts. There is much traffic on the road as a result of a delay at the circle.
7.55 At the entrance of Marda is an army jeep.
There was no rain along the road in spite of the weather forecast but as we passed the Shomron crossing the heavens opened up. Do not the Palestinians deserve this?
13:50 The Habla gate was empty. It closes at 14:00. A sign posted on the gate tells when it’s open. It still closes at 17:30 in the evening.
14:50 Yitzhar/Huwwara junction. A flying checkpoint, a few soldiers standing up on the hill. We drove to the Huwwara checkpoint. It was manned; inspections were being conducted. A Palestinian vehicle was detained and its three passengers were made to get out and sit near the concrete blocks. We went over to see what was going on. The checkpoint commander approached us, said that the checkpoint is manned three times a day. He told us there was an order to detain the passengers in the car that was stopped; they’re suspected of throwing rocks. He added that there was a confrontation this morning between settlers and residents of Einabus.
15:05 We drove via Burin to the village of Madama, south of Burin, because I’d read in Al Itihad that there had been trouble with the settlers. An eyewitness told us that on Monday, 17.12, at nine in the morning, when a Palestinian family was on the way to plant trees on its land, settlers from Yitzhar came down, shot and wounded a brother and sister, and hit the two other brothers in the head with rocks. Soldiers arrived, beat the 65 year old brother with their rifle butts and arrested three other people. The settlers also beat and chased away the Palestinian shepherds who were there. The confrontations continued into the afternoon.
The Palestinians arrested are: Fawzi Zakariyya, Ramz Wissam, Mu’az Rizk. Mamun Amin was the eyewitness.
16:00 A flying checkpoint at the entrance to Beita.
Za’atara is manned, but no inspections are conducted.
16:25 Azzun Atma. Inspections are conducted for groups of five so the crossing flowed and there was no congestion.
16:35 We left.
Ordinary day of occupation. The children are on "vacation" as there is a strike of the employees of the Authority, the teachers and many others. This is because they did not receive a salary last month.
On the way, we saw a lot more use of donkeys than in the past. Even on highway #55, in the area between Eliyahu gate and the gas station of Alfei Menashe, there were a number of wagons with passengers and donkeys pulling them.
06:20 'Azzun 'Atma
Many are already waiting outside, but the line has about 70 people or more, even though the inspection is quick - 30 people went through in 8 minutes. The building of the checkpoint is proceeding at a good pace and every time something new has been added "to the advantage of the residents". Now it is a kind of divider, half transparent, between the vehicles lane and the inspection lane for pedestrians.
06:45 Tamar gate
We travelled by way of Oranit. Also, on this side of the road which leads to the gate, there is an additional gate, which cuts off the road coming from the Tamar gate. Pedestrians arrive and form a line between the gate and the fence. One can also pass through the gate if you push with both shoulders, but, in principle it is locked and there is only the hole in the fence. On both sides of the gate they are working on the new fence. It looks as though it will increase the amount of land returned to Palestine on one side but, along the road to Oranit it will decrease the space. There is also a lot of work on the south side of the road to Elkana - are they continuing the fence to there?- we'll see.
There is no one in line, even though the gate opened at 06:30; it is not usual that 45 minutes after the opening there is not yet a line. The children didn't cross because of the school strike. People keep arriving, but go straight through in both directions.
Eliyahu gate- 3 vehicles for inspection, no pedestrians waiting in line; there is a new shed in the pedestrian area, but not near the inspection booth.
We traveled to 'Azzun to our friend, Z., to bring things for his store. It is pleasant to report that he is enterprising and intends to open another store, so he will sell men's wear alone and his wife will sell the women's wear. However, his medical situation has not improved.
Quiet as usual; vehicles go through, tractors and donkeys. All of them with children - vacation, so they can help with the work
09:30 Jabarra checkpoint
Quiet, only a few people going through but the checkpoint still exists. According to the soldiers, they will dismantle it in another 1-2 months; a Palestinian said in another 20 days. So we decided to go and check how the fence is coming along. We went up to Ar Ras (next to the mosque) where there is a very good lookout. We saw that the fence is far from being completed (in the area under the rocks), and it doesn't look as though the Jabarra checkpoint will be dismantled. We will follow up.
An autumn day.
Hebron. Yesterday a border policewomen shot and killed a Palestinian armed with a toy gun.
Today there is a demonstration of the supporters of Hamas in Nablus.
The media reports that there is unrest in "Yehuda and Shomron" (The West Bank)
Except for the army presence which I always mention……there is no 'unrest" in all the places through which we passed.
Because of the fact that there as been a change in the checkpoints which we have known in the past many people are no longer waiting for the generosity of the soldiers to let them pass from village to village. The checking is careful.
Who are here and represent the occupation are army vehicles.
13.30 Habla checkpoint. A Palestinian
car is being checked. The driver is checked
in the room, comes out and waves a hello
There are few people passing at this hour
of the day.
13.35 The Bedouin school children who
went through the checkpoint are now
coming home on the dirt road.
13.37 The bus from which they alighted is again checked at the Eliyahua checkpoint.
13.38 An army jeep drives in front of us and turns to the right to Ma'aleah Shomron.
13.47 Before the village of El Pundak an army jeep arrives opposite us.
13.51 At the settlement of Kedumied an army vehicle arrives from the opposite direction to us.
13.52 An army jeep turns to the right and goes into the settlement of Mitzpeh Yeshai.
14.00 An army jeep coming towards us after the checkpoint of Jit turns to the right.
14.04 Before the meeting of road 60 with the road Huwwara-Bruin an army jeep passes us from the opposite direction.
1.4 15 The checkpoint of Huwwara. At the hiking post of the settlement of Bracha we see a soldier guarding.
At the checkpoint itself the lights are on. The checking posts are not manned. When we return to the checkpoint of Beit Furik we see two soldiers coming from the direction of the checkpoint walking slowly and it seems the shift is being changed.
14.20 The checkpoint of Beit Furik. We saw no soldiers. We will send a photo of the checkpoint which reminds those who do not know that those coming from Nablus in the direction of the village of Beit furik (and the other way around) do not have a turning to the road which leads to the settlement of Alon Moreh. The sign is done by hand but the command is clear…..this is an apartheid road.
14,22 The checkpoint of Huwwara. A yellow iron bar is closed and locked and there is no passage to Nablus.
14.28 An army jeep come opposite us to the northern entrance of the village of Huwwara.
14.45 Two army jeeps pass us on the main road to Huwwara. There is much traffic in the village from both sides which is usual for Thursday. The village is vibrant with life.
15.00 The checkpoint of Za'tara. Two soldiers man the checking posts but do not check.
15.20 Azzun Atma.
Workers are coming back from work
but there is no long line. A transparent
wall of plastic has been built next to the
checking room because of the rain.
A shed has also been built which does
not allow us to see the road and to see
if there are people.
In honour of Hanukah there is a menorah at the checkpoint.
Soldiers are at the checkpoint (also with kippot) and an army policewoman try to start an argument…..they are very impressed by the action of the soldier from Hebron. I have no desire to argue with them. I tell them to look at the site of machsomwatch,.
בחברון: אתמול ירתה חיילת מג"ב למוות בפלסטיני חמוש באקדח דמי.
היום מתקיימת עצרת תומכי חמאס בשכם.
במדיה מדווח על "אי שקט באזור יהודה ושומרון".
מלבד נוכחות רכבי צבא (עליהם אני נוהגת ממילא לציין בדווחים) לא ניכרה כל 'עצבנות' אחרת בכל מקום שעברנו.
מכיוון שבמצב המחסומים שהכרנו בעבר חל שינוי והמוני אדם כבר אינם עומדים כאן ומחכים לחסדי החיילות/ים שיואילו לתת אישור למעבר מכפר אחד למשנהו אחרי בדיקות מדוקדקות,
מה שעדיין מציין כאן בגלוי את הכיבוש הם רכבי הצבא.
1330 מחסום חבלה (תמונה עליונה)– רכב פלסטיני נבדק, נהגו נבדק בחדר, יוצא מהמחסום מנפנף אלינו לשלום.
מעט עוברים בשעת צהרים זו.
1335 ילדי בית הספר הבדואי שעברו במחסום חבלה חוזרים הביתה בדרך עפר.
1337 האוטובוס שהוריד אותם נבדק שוב במחסום אליהו.
1338 ג'יפ צבאי נוסע לפנינו פונה ימינה להתנחלות מעלה שומרון.
1347 לפני הכפר פונדוק – ג'יפ צבאי מגיע מולנו.
1351 טנדר צבאי מגיע מולנו ליד התנחלות קדומים.
1352 ג'יפ צבאי פונה ימינה נכנס להתנחלות מצפה ישי.
1400 בפניה ימינה אחרי צומת ג'ית עובר מולנו ג'יפ צבא.
1404 לפני מפגש כביש 60 עם כביש חווארה-בורין – ג'יפ צבא עובר מולנו.
1415 מחסום חווארה – רק בטרמפיאדה בכניסה להתנחלות ברכה רואים חייל שומר.
במחסום עצמו אורות דולקים. עמדות הבדיקה לא מאוישות. כשנחזור ממחסום בית פוריכ נראה שני חיילים באים מכיוון המחסום, הולכים לאיטם, כנראה החלפת משמרת.
1420 מחסום בית פוריכ – לא ראינו חיילים. צילום מהמחסום (תמונה אמצעית) מזכיר למי שאינו יודע שכשבאים משכם לכיוון הכפר בית פוריכ (וההפך) אין פנייה לכביש המוביל להתנחלות אלון מורה. התמרור מצוייר ביד אך הציווי ברור: זהו כביש אפרטהייד.
1422 מחסום עוורתא – זרוע הברזל הצהובה סגורה ונעולה אין מעבר לשכם.
1428 ג'יפ צבאי מגיע מולנו בכניסה הצפונית לכפר חווארה
1445 2 ג'יפים צבאיים עוברים ברחוב הראשי של חווארה. בכפר תנועת רכבים ערה משני הצדדים כרגיל ביום חמישי. הכפר שוקק חיים.
1500 מחסום זעטרה – שני חיילים מאיישים עמדות בדיקה. לא בודקים.
1520 מחסום עזון עתמה – פועלים חוזרים הביתה. לא נוצר תור ארוך. בנו ליד חדר הבדיקה קיר מפלסטיק שקוף להגנה מפני הגשם. בנו גם סככה שלא מאפשרת לראות מהכביש אם יש שם פועלים.
הנה לכבוד חנוכה - חנוכיה מוצבת במחסום (צילום תחתון)...
החיילים במחסום (עם כיפות) וגם חיילת משטרה צבאית מנסים לעורר ויכוח - הם מתפעלים ממעשה החיילת בחברון, אין לי עניין להתווכח איתם – מפנה אותם לאתר מחסום ווטש.