15.15 Checkpoint Zatara/Tapuach – traffic flows.
A border policeman came and asked us what we were doing and warned us that we are responsible for ourselves if anything should happen.
A lorry leaving Nablus is sent back.
A car with yellow license plates is detained and carefully checked by police. This took considerable time. A soldier said that the car had been stolen.
But otherwise the traffic flowed.
16.00 Dir Sharif/Hachaviot. The checkpoint is not manned.
Azzun Atma - 07:20 - Southern Passage
6 workmen are waiting for their employers to come and collect them to work. There are 5 soldiers, one of them is a reservist (the Palestinian with whom we talked said that they behave better). Again we hear that the Northern Passage (1.5 kms further on, on the other side of the village, serves the neighboring villages) is the problematic one. There they transfer people slowly, thee is a long queue, much pressure etc. Again we didn't get to that passage.
Zatara - 08:00
We pass in the direction of Huwwara without delay, and so it goes from the other side too.
Huwwara - 08:30
There is a border police jeep in the middle of the village, the doors are open, the firearms are held and there is a lot of self-importantce. Even when passing quickly one can feel clearly who the master is.
At the CP there is checking in both directions - for those entering and those leaving Nablus.
We don't see delays. There are random checks and a lively traffic.
Today the soldiers see us and show absolutely no interest, although we don't behave differently than we did two weeks ago, when they attacked us, threatened and delayed us.
Deir Sharaf (Barrels) - Beit Iba
There is nothing, as usual since quite a long time.
There was a strange calmness to day's shift, leading to a sneaking suspicion that "transfer," that sanitized term for ethnic cleansing, is already taking place in the OPT. There were fewer Palestinian vehicles on the road today, fewer taxis, fewer private cars, and enormous numbers of lumbering Israeli trucks, as well as innumerable Israeli private cars. Another looming fact on the ground, which bolsters this sneaking suspicion, is the security barrier/wall which snakes around the inner portions of the Palestinian side of Green Line to bring settlements into the Israeli side of the wall. We have witnessed for a while how the wall impinges on Palestinian lands, prevents agricultural workers from access to their fields, violates the basic rights of mobility and work, and helps to upset the deep Palestinian rootedness in their land, making the very fact of transfer a fear that seems to be grounded in facts.
12:30 Near Alfe Menashe
Beware -- all drivers on the roadway near the "building in process" at the Security Barrier to-be. The road has "developed," or the great engineers of the IDF have created a very steep gradient from the road being built and the one we travel on. A lot of equipment at work here, improving the Occupation, of course. There's brand new wire atop the brand new wall, still only half completed. But it will be: work here is never slow when there's an Occupation at work.
12:45 Ras Atiya
We seem to have stumbled on a performance of Eugene Ionesco's "The Chairs." There are, in fact, two white plastic chairs in the center of the checkpoint, on which sit two soldiers, casually and peacefully. Maybe they're indeed highlighting the loneliness and futility of human existence! To add to the mise en scene, another soldier stands, and a military policewoman completes the scene. Action? Not much today. A couple of young women show their IDs, two little boys meander across from the village, one dragging a big plastic bag with UNICEF on it. The Italian government-donated bus arrives, filled with passengers, and the driver tells us, "We'll see how it is today." The soldiers get up from their chairs, but there's no checking, and the bus proceeds on into the village.
Two of three young men who've crossed the Separation barrier earlier in our monitoring stop by our car as we are about to leave. One, from Ad Daba, close by, speaks a street Hebrew well, which he learned while in prison. Life is made so difficult by the soldiers, he complains, although not today, and D. goes back and forth several times each day to make life difficult for them. In other words, he, too, is part of the theater of the absurd!
On the settlement looming over the checkpoint, Har Bracha, building cranes are at work, but here at the checkpoint, yellow springtime weeds camouflage the turnstiles and the sophisticated checkpoint shed that made up the horror that was Huwwara; debris lies all over the place of other Occupation buildings demolished. But the military lookout tower is still there and manned, added to which there are two soldiers, one of them a Border Policeman, at the entrance to the now empty parking lot and another group of soldiers checking vehicles coming out of the city of Nablus but no checking going in.
14:00 Gilad Ranch
Purple lupins at the entrance to this illegal outpost on Route 60 are outdone by the buildings that have been erected there: "in your face" colors of striking purple, bright blue and other paler shades. A wooden house (Swedish style) completes the blatant wrongdoing. But who's to care or control? This is Judea and Samaria, no?
14:30 Deir Sharaf
Another "illegality," the creation of a roadway up to the settlement of Shavei Shomron when the original one is perfectly good. But the new one, still unused, still unfinished, has taken up yet more Palestinian land, uprooted yet more olive trees which form the livelihood of many in this part of the world.
A lot of traffic flowing in both directions, the red stop light is, as always, turned on, but has no meaning. A soldier stands desultorily at the side, nowhere near the checking booths which remain unused. He is joined by another who soon makes his way back into the military lookout tower.
Few Palestinians returning from work, and we can see nobody working at any of the positions inside.
Many more people returning from work here, and they pass quickly into the building and out again, with no delay.
A huge mass of concrete building going on here in the settlement above the old Qalqilya checkpoint, and a house with five or six bedrooms is available -- or maybe it's already sold?
Deir Sharaf (barrels)
08:45 The barrels checkpoint no longer exists. No soldiers
Route 57 has been upgraded.
Translation: Aliya S.
14:45 Za'tara: Empty from all directions.
As we approached the checkpoint from the town we realized that there was a long, long line of vehicles waiting to go into Nablus. We stopped counting at around 50! After we parked and walked to the checkpoint we realized that the line of cars from the other direction, out of Nablus, must be just as long. All movement at the checkpoint had been stopped.
15:20, the line out of Nablus began to move, very slowly. The soldiers were stopping some taxis for checking. We asked when the line into the city would begin moving. "When the pressure on the other side clears up," we were told. Then we noticed that the road coming out of the city was blocked by cars and trucks which had tried to get ahead in the line and had managed to completely block all lanes. Very slowly the snarled traffic unravelled itself, and the line into the city began to move.
We asked the reason for the stoppage. One soldier said, "An exercise." Another soldier said, "A warning." So who knows?
15:45 Burin/Yitzhar Junction:
A police car, "yassam," stood at the turn to Yitzhar. It's a vehicle used against demonstrations.
Opposite the road up to Yitzhar, a large jeep and 4-5 soldiers were standing around. Waiting for something?
A larger group of soldiers were standing there. An army ambulance stood at the side of the road.
Opposite the entrance to the Kedumim industrial zone there was another army jeep and 4-5 soldiers.
16:00 Deir Sharraf:
The checkpoint was empty. Two Palestinians standing at the side told us that there had been some soldiers there for a while who had held up traffic but then they left.
We assum that the army is preparing to enter Nablus at night. It's only an assumption.
Translation: Galia S.
08:20 – Two lanes, 21 cars, no delays.
09:00 – Checks are held at the entrance and at the exit from Nablus. Most of the traffic flows without delays. Once in a while a car is stopped and the passengers' documents are checked. During the time we are there – about 20 minutes – we don't observe delays longer than 5 minutes.
08:15 Huwwara checkpointRandom inspections at both the entrance and exit. Most cars go through without being checked. There’s a dog handler at the exit, a minibus is pulled over for inspection, passengers have to get out, a quick check, the vehicle drives on five minutes later.We break for coffee and knafeh…
09:30 Tapuach junctionThe parking lot is full of “security" personnel. A Border Police unit raises a large flag on its booth, regular policeman in another corner, soldiers in a bus halted temporarily, and some dog handlers practicing on Palestinian going by.
09:35 A dog handler with a small puppy spends ten minutes inspecting a pickup truck.At the same time, car permits are randomly checked. Those being inspected are pulled over to the side but from time to time a line of cars still forms, which disappears fairly quickly.
10:15 Zeita is blocked “as usual,” and Marda is “open.” We drive home via the cross-Shomron crossing which is manned by a private security company. The guard never heard of MachsomWatch; he inspected our ID’s and the trunk.