12.00 We drove to Huwwara through Jamma'in. This is the road which just lately has had a dirt mound removed and this only after a number of years. We gave someone a lift, A blacksmith from Urif and immediately we heard a personal story and sat with him to drink coffee. He asked our help with an accident in 1999 for which he had not received compensation.
13.00 Huwwara CP. This is not our day. We are not allowed into the parking lot and again we are shouted at. “Can you not see that there is an incident here?” The truth is we saw nothing and there was nothing special. We stopped at the circle and saw that cars and trucks were leaving Nablus with no problem and no problem for those entering. Was it just cruelty? We went on
13.15 Awarta CP. The checkpoint is closed. There are soldiers in the sentry tower.
Beit Furik CP. A soldier in the tower and we went on to Alon Moreh. At a base outside Alon Moreh we stopped a moment to look at the map.
Soldiers demanded our IDs and we went on our way
. 13.40 Huwwara. Again we were not allowed to park to the place from where we usually we keep watch.
Two sappers shouted….why is everyone shouting today…. Get the hell out of here. We decided to go to the Jordan Valley.
14.00 Za’tara/Tapuach CP. No line and we went on our way after a few minutes.
Translation: Suzanne O.
The entrances to Marda and Zeita are open.
About 15 cars crawl through the roadblock but the soldiers do not hold them up.
There is no military activity.
On the way between Borin and the roadblock there is a group of soldiers patrolling on the side of the road.
A soldier peeps out from the top of the watchtower and waves us hello.
A resident of the village tells us that stones were thrown at a military vehicle which drove through the village last night. The soldiers retaliated by throwing shock grenades which woke the whole village.
There is not much vehicular traffic. The roadblock is controlled by reservists.
The soldiers guarding the roadblock at the entrance ask, as last time, for our documents. But when they realise that we do not want to enter Nablus they desist.
Traffic to and from the town flows with no intervention by the soldiers; there is very little traffic in either direction. We asked the soldiers what they are doing there. The answer: to ensure that no religious Jews enter Nablus and get beaten up!
At the exit from Huwwara, in the area opposite Beita, a military vehicle is parked, apparently Border Police.
The traffic flows. Just as we drove by the car park we saw, in the corner, a number of soldiers having a lively discussion with two Palestinians but it was too late for us to turn back. We hope that everything ended peacefully.
Translator: Charles K.
14:45 We drove on a hot summer day through the village of Haris, to Kifl Haris and saw the tomb of Caleb ben Yefuneh. Twice a year, when religious believers visit the tomb, the army accompanies them and closes the village.
We continued via the village of Qira, from which we had a wide-angle view of Ariel spreading out in a line on the hilltops, below which we could see the Marda ghetto.
Our winding road passed dusty Jamma’in – only one vehicle can pass at a time. When a vehicle comes from the other direction it has to back up. The road ascends and descends dangerously. From there we continued to Einabus, which is connected to Huwwara.
Until the roadblock to Route 5 was removed (about a month ago), this was the way to reach Nablus and not be stopped by roadblocks. The road is visible from the west to people driving on the regular route.
We saw few adults and children outside the houses.
16:20 Huwwara checkpoint –
As we got out of the car in the parking lot, a determined soldier hurried over to us urgently and forbade us to go to our usual observation point. He says those are new orders. Since we were shown no printed order, we stood where we usually do.
Palestinian vehicles traveled quickly to and from Nablus, without stopping. Two soldiers stand next at the inspection station next to the parking lot, as at the inspection station for those leaving Nablus.
16:55 Za’tara checkpoint –
Empty. New signs opposing the settlement freeze are posted on the checkpoint fences, undisturbed.
17:05 Opposite Marda, on the hill to the west, stands a military jeep; soldiers serving as observers alongside it.
Before leaving the West Bank and driving west, we see a convoy of military vehicles coming toward us at the Shomron Gate.
17:20 Azzun Atma checkpoint – no line.
Translation: Suzanne O.
We exited from Road 5 into Kfar Kasem. It is immediately clear that we are in an Arab village - there are no pavements. We drove along the length of the village and continued along the bumpy road the length of the fence, the one with the lookout tower, to Azun Atma.
We were not stopped and we saw no soldiers.
Azun Atma roadblock
A woman and a youth enter, an elderly man on a donkey exits. A soldier looks through his bags and they talk, it looks like a Saturday morning chat. We saw three soldiers outside and one in the room. The duty unit's flag (Search and Rescue) flies on the flagpole.
Arta/Sha'ar Ephraim roadblock
Civilian police inspect the traffic entering the territories including driving licences and ID cards. There are also a lot of Border Police soldiers as well as armed civilians (a security company?).
We saw no cars queuing.
There are no traffic hold ups. Soldiers look but do not stop anyone. We waited for a few minutes and then moved on.
We took two hitchhikers to Huwwara - an Arabic teacher and a labourer who works in Oranit. The teacher, from Silfit, spoke excellent English; he didn't say a lot but invited us to his home.
The labourer is happy with his job; it doesn't bother him working on a settlement. He asked for the donation of a computer for his children, something old that maybe someone is changing...
We gave out visiting cards, just in case.
We promised to search for a used computer.
It is pleasant here today too.
The soldiers appear relaxed.
We didn't see any hold-ups; the inspections are random and quick.
At the entrance to Nablus there is also a civilian police jeep.
We saw many cars with Israeli number plates going into Nablus.
There are 4 soldiers at the exit, we also saw lorries leaving from here today.
We drove via Punduk and Jit. We didn't see anything in particular.
Translation: Hanna K.
THE "NAHAL" CORPS IS GOING TO MOVE ON AND THE ARMOURED INFANTRY WILL TAKE ITS PLACE.
06:30 THE SHA"AR SHOMRON (QASEM)
EASTWARDS IS WIDE OPEN AND THERE IS NO CHECKING.
THE ENTRANCES TO MARDA AND ZEITA ARE OPEN.
07:00 ZA'TARATAPUAH: THERE IS NO QUEUE
BURIN/YITZHAR: THERE ARE NO MILITARY VEHICLES
07:30 BEIT FURIK:
QUITE A GROUP OF RANKED SOLDIERS ARRIVES AT THE CP AND IS BRIEFED THERE. THESE ARE THE COMMANDERS OF THE SUBSTITUTE UNIT.
THE ACTIVITY DOESN'T DISTURB THE INCOMING AND OUTGOING VEHICLES FROM PROCEEDING INTO THE TOWN OR OUT OF IT ROUTINELY. THE SOLDIERS AT THE TOP OF THE POST WANTS TO FIND OUT WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR AND WE CONTINUE ON OUR WAY.
07:35 AWARTA: A SPARSE VEHICLE TRAFFIC. TWO BORED SOLDIERS.
THE PARKING LOT IS COMPLETELY ENMPTY. THE SOLDIERS WHO GUARD THE ENTRANCE CP ASK US TO PRESENT PAPERS BUT WHEN THEY ARE CONVINCED THAT WE DON'T INTEND ENTERING NABLUS THEY DON'T INSIST.
THE TRAFFIC TO THE TOWN AND FROM IS FLOWS WITHOUT PROBLEMS. THERE AREN'T MANY CARS IN BOTH DIRECTIONS.
A LOADED TRUCK WHICH TRIES TO LEAVE TOWN IS SENT TO DRIVE THROUGH AWARTA.
ANOTHER TRUCK WITH A REVERSIBLE CRATE LIFTED THE CRATE TO PROVE THAT I'S EMPTY AND PASSED THROUGH THE CP.
ABOUT HALF A DOZEN SOLDIERS MAN AT THE CP. WE DON'T KNOW WHETHER THEY ARE EXPECTING PALESTINIANS OR SETTLES.
ZA'TARATAPUAH: THE TRAFFIC FLOWS.
A DAY OF A "GOOD CP".
הנח"ל עומד לזרום הלאה ובמקומו יעלה החרמש
06:30 שער שומרון מזרחה פתוח לרווחה ואיש לא בודק.
הכניסות למרדא ולזיתא פתוחות
07:00 זעתרה/תפוח: אין תור
בורין /יצהר: אין רכבים צבאיים.
07:30 בית פוריכ:
קבוצה נכבדה של בעלי דרגות מגיעה למחסום ומקבלת תדרוך במקום. אלו מפקדי היחידה המחליפה.הפעילות אינה מפריעה לרכבים היוצאים ונכנסים לעיר כבדרך שגרה.
החייל בראש העמדה מברר מה אנו מחפשות שם ואנו ממשיכות בדרכינו.
07:35 עוורטא: תנועה דלילה של רכבים. שני חיילים משועממים.
מגרש החנייה ריק לחלוטין. החיילים השומרים במחסום הכניסה מבקשים שנציג תעודות אך לאחר שמתברר להם שאיננו מתכוונות להכנס לשכם הם מוותרים.התנועה לעיר וממנה זורמת ללא כל בעיות. אין הרבה מכוניות לשני הכיוונים. משאית עמוסה המנסה לצאת מהעיר נשלחת לעבור דרך עוורטא.
משאית אחרת, עם ארגז מתהפך, הרימה את הארגז כדי להוכיח שהוא ריק ועברה במחסום.
כחצי תריסר חיילים מאיישים את הבטונדות שבמחסום. איננו יודעות אם הם מצפים לפלסטינים או למתנחלים.
זעתרה/תפוח: התנועה זורמת. יום של "מחסום טוב".
Natanya translating. 14.50 Za’tara crossroadsThe police are stopping Palestinian cars. About 30 cars at the exit from Nablus.
15.45 Huwwara checkpoint
Random checking. Most cars go through, two are detained to be checked and go on their way after a few minutes.
16.15 Anabta checkpoint. One soldier is in the sentry tower and cars pass with no problems.
16.30 IrtahCrossing No line and the workers go through quickly.
For the first time in weeks, the Gaza flotilla is no longer top news around the world. But Israel's action against the flotilla lit up, if only for a moment, the darkness in which we live on a day to day basis and a darkness under which we continue our activism against the Occupation. The scene illuminated during the flotilla "incident" is certainly dismal. But we know that already, and have no other solution but to continue to shed light on what we can. In fact, other than the checkpoints, the most powerful tool of the Occupation is the much less visible bureaucracy of Occupation, carried out in the recesses of the DCO offices and designed to harass and humiliate. About that, we were enlightened today.
Routes 55 and 60
It seems as if the settlers' world is holding its breath until September 2010 when the so-called freeze on building in the settlements is lifted. Meanwhile, the outpost building at Shvut Ami is painted blue, maybe even with some white clouds on it, and the road being repaved toward Jenin, on route 60, is closed, closed. We wonder whether U.S. Aid, which is actually helping Palestinians, is being hindered by the IDF! We, of course, are told, non verbally, to turn round, from the checkpoint at Shavei Shomron.
There we learn that checkpoints are alive and well, if only for short and temporary period. Assira, outside Nablus was closed for a couple of hours recently, by a "rolling" checkpoint - not features of the past.
The tower lookout window is open, and below, there are three soldiers at the checkpoint, not checking traffic, but slowing it down. That, in itself, is an unusual sight. Soon after our observations start, the three soldiers move away, and traffic flows much more smoothly.
13: 25 Irtah
A man is wandering near the Separation Barrier, outside the compound, and an armed guard, of the private company variety, is "shouting" to the man, but non verbally, meaning with his arms, to stop. Neither individual approaches the other. The man puts his bag down on the ground. Clearly, not a photographer's bag, and clearly not a dangerous bag. He shows his ID to the guard.
The compound by Irtah is empty, cars and a bus parked outside, the kiosk and its incongruous chairs and table, closed.
Few workers returning home. But a family, with several small children, returns and goes inside the building.
We learn, first, that the DCO is issuing far less permits and making far more trouble. The nursery man's brother can only stay, on his own lands, until 19:00 each day, not until 22:00. His father, who is a landowner, who once had a two year permit to "visit" his own fields, now, has a six month permit. We are told, "There are always new stories." Indeed: the nursery owner's own permit was "mistakenly" issued by a soldier whose only interest was in going home. He told the nursery man to "come back in two days."
The DCO offices, which we cannot visit, on the northern side of Qalqiliya, are a disgrace. As at Irtah, armed guards patrol above the heads of the Palestinians. What is new is that Palestinians are being seen in smaller and smaller rooms, men and women together - a no no in Muslim culture.
We must ask the Ecumenical Accompaniers to go there, since we can't.
13:45 Habla Gate
It's not open, as it should be, and a young man tells us, "Usually it's 2:00, they come when they want to..." Not the kind of situation that existed a few months ago when the gate would open at the time that was communicated to Palestinians and to us.
13: 55 -- this time, two soldiers appear from a Hummer which screeches its way to the gates and then speeds off, no -- screeches off -- in the same way. The two soldiers have no idea, so they tell us, when the gate should open. "Only the commander knows," and he's nowhere in sight. The two soldiers struggle to open the gates, first one then the other, on the far side of the Separation Barrier, opening them with difficulty and with a great lack of speed. Meanwhile, they have no permission to open the gate on the side where we stand, along with half a dozen Palestinians, a donkey cart, a truck and a tractor, and we wait....
14:10 -- the same Hummer, the same feckless woman driver, anxious to show her prowess at the wheel, makes the Hummer do a pirouette, before coming to a standstill by the Habla gate(s), disgorging from its bowels the commander and a number of other soldiers, including a military policeman who unlocks and enters the concrete checking booth.
The Hummer driver and another soldier now beckon the waiting Palestinians, checking each ID and its matching permit closely. One soldier takes a pile of green IDs and permits and scrutinizes them closely.
14:15 -- nine people wait, plus an assortment of four wheeled vehicles. Every two minutes, the numbers increase, from nine to twelve to fifteen.
14:20 -- a woman we've met at Ras Atiya greets us, invites us to her home (if only), and says that now the access to Ras Atiya is much more difficult for her, since the old Separation Barrier checkpoint is closed. She has to take a taxi now from Habla.
And now, a bunch of sheep and goats wait on the far side as the human "beneficiaries" of the Occupier's checking and permit system dwindle to nil.
From Hares via Kifl Hares, Jama’in, Ein Abous and Huwwara to the Huwwara checkpoint and the Habla agricultural gate
During today’s shift we met people from Sylvia’s “department” in Kifl Hares and Huwwara to whom we had to give some documents.
15:15 Hares The village is taking its afternoon siesta. Nadim called our attention to the demolished house at the southeastern edge of the village, a monument to the glory of the state of Israel.
15:30 In Kifl Hares we saw the tomb of “Caleb ben Yefuneh,” bearing a sign in large Hebrew letters, apparently erected by the ministry of religion and tourism? At the eastern entrance to the village, next to the IDF guard tower, we waited to hand over the documents.
16:00 We entered Jama’in via the reopened road and then through Ein Abous and on roads in fairly poor condition to Huwwara. It occurred to us that if we don’t have any contact with the village then the route isn’t an appropriate one for Machsom Watch because it doesn’t involve any contact with settlements or with settlers.
16:35 Huwwara We stopped in the center and then Nadim’s car wouldn’t start. The person we were to meet at the checkpoint came to us. Meanwhile, Nadim was attending to the problem.
17:25 Huwwara checkpoint It’s usually more crowded at this hour, but maybe because of school vacation few cars went through in either direction. It appears they’ve made some cosmetic improvements in the area where cars leaving Nablus are inspected. Some of the concrete barriers have been removed and that part of the checkpoint looks less offensive.
17:40 Burin (Yitzhar) junction. A military jeep parked at the junction – apparently Border Police.
17:45 We saw another Border Police jeep in the western part of Funduq.
18:00 Habla agricultural gate Very quiet and calm at this hour. The gate is open until 18:30.
To sum up: There are, in fact, fewer checkpoints and endless lines, but the burden of the occupation and its injustices are evident everywhere.
40 people in line. 2 soldiers are checking permits. People enter for inspection in groups of 6; the inspections go quickly. We left at 07:50, when there were only 10 people.
08:20 Jit Junction
We saw a military vehicle
08:30 Izhar Junction
Also here we saw a military vehicle
Traffic is flowing in every direction. During our shift at the checkpoint, we didn't see any delays of any sort, either of vehicles or of people. We also didn't see the dog brigade
08:45 Beit Furik
No soldiers to be seen
The checkpoint is empty.
09:00 Zaatra Junction
8 vehicles in line. They go through quickly, no inspection, except for random inspection.
The entrance was open.