'Azzun 'Atma, Wed 29.4.09, Afternoon
General. We went out on Independence Day so as to see what freedom of movement there was on such a day because of the celebrations of the settlers.
Summary. In opposition to the previous two years it seems that this year the celebration of the settlers interfered with the Palestinians less than before, The only reservation is that we were not here in the morning before the march started and we do not know what roads were closed because of this. There was not a great deal of traffic of Israeli cars while we were in the area especially in comparison with previous years.
12.30 Azzun. The main exit is still closed with high mounds of dirt. The traffic goes through part of the old road 55 which exits on the new road to 'Izbet Tabib. Other parts of the road have been fenced in. We go on to Nablus.
12.40 On the hill which the settlers call "Shvut Ami" there is a foot patrol of the army going up towards a group of youthful settlers. The settlement itself is empty.
12.44 At the crossroads of Jit the traffic moves freely.
12.50 The Barrel checkpoint before Deir Sharaf. There is much traffic to and from Nablus. We find it hard to cross the road from side to side. By the way, never have I been so happy to have problems crossing the road because of traffic. At the exit from Nablus soldiers stop a car at the side of the road for a few minutes to be checked. Other cars go on their way freely. It seems that there is no ascent to Homesh this year.
13.00. Back at the Barrel checkpoint to the crossroads of Jit. There is a checkpoint for cars in the direction of the west, Qalqiliya. This is because of the march of the settlers along Wadi Kana. A car has been waiting there half an hour already, dafke a taxi from Qalqiliya. We phone the centre to complain about the unnecessary delay of the car and about the unnecessary harassment of the checkpoint.
13.20 The taxis are freed and the jeep and the checkpoint pack up and leave.
13.25 The foot patrol comes down from the place where the settlement youth were opposite Shvut Ami. We do not see the youth, maybe they have been evacuated. We go on in the direction of the area where the march is taking place and which exited from Shave Shomron and is supposed to end at the settlement of Yakir. Therefore we go to road 5066 which is between road 55 to 5.
13.35 At the west of the road of Wadi Kana is a policeman and 2-3 settlers. But there is no checkpoint even for Palestinian cars and the traffic passes freely.
13.40 At the entrance to Deir Istiya there is a checkpoint. The soldiers do not stop cars leaving the village but each one is checked. They will leave when the march ends. The commander in charge of the group is a captain.
13.50 At the entrance to Hares there is no checkpoint but for the first time we notice a mound of dirt which prevents the exit of cars to road 5 and to Bidiya. There is a road which connects to Deir Sharaf and from which they can exit but it is a long detour. We will keep an eye on this.
13.55 Karawat Bani Hasan at the entrance to Bidiya. Women soldiers stand here to prevent Israelis going through. They are full of their own importance and that of there duty and on no account will allow us to go through to Bidiya because they are not to allow Israelis through. And we thought that they were there to prevent Israelis who are coming for the march who do not know the area to make a mistake and to go into a Palestinian city.