'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 9.4.09, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
As usual a Jewish festival means closure for the Palestinians. The roads are empty.
It is deserted in both directions. The traffic on the roads is light; all the settlers are resting after the Seder. The entrance to Marda is open and to Zeita barred, as usual.
There are 10 cars from the direction of Ariel, the inspection is thorough and the queue grows quickly to about 20 cars. The queue from the direction of Huwwara is also long. Two inspection lanes are open. The dog handler is present. We saw no Border Police vehicles in Huwwara town. Perhaps they are on holiday for Passover.
Yitzhar/Borin roadblocks: deserted.
There is no queue.
Three paratroopers inspect all the cars, both those entering and those leaving. "There are warnings", they explain to us. The lookout post is covered with a camouflage awning. It is not against enemy aircraft but against snipers, that's what we were told. The cars near the roadblock are chaotic.
A queue of 10 vehicles has built up. The inspection is random. There are few lorries, and more VIPs.
The traffic of pedestrians into the town is heavy. The narrow turnstiles are crowded and jammed. The Palestinians complain that the disabled crossing is not open and there is no one to talk to about it. The exit from the town is less crowded. The humanitarian lane is open. A man is detained. According to the DCO representative he tried to cross via the humanitarian lane, he was refused and then tried his luck again in a vehicle. A while later he is released.
The queue of cars leaving the town is quite short. An x-ray machine, a dog handler and a DCO representative are present. Three lanes are open but the inspection is slow and thorough and the queue grows and grows.
A bus driver complains that at Za'atra only buses are held up for about half an hour for an additional inspection, therefore, most of the passengers prefer to travel by taxi causing the buses to lose business. He claims that it is not fair. And the roadblock is fair?
Three photographers from 'news agencies' stand on the traffic island filming the queue of cars. They did not tell us what brought them to the roadblock. In the car park one can buy tea, coffee and non Passover food.
The roadblocks are still empty.
We saw no Border Police in Huwwara town.
At Za'atra there is a queue of 8 vehicles at the exit from Huwwara, there is no queue from the direction of Ariel.
Road No.55, as well as Road No. 5, has hardly any traffic on it. As we said, it is a Jewish festival.