'Azzun 'Atma, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 11.6.09, Morning

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Rachel A.-T., Natalie C. (reporting); Natanya translating

We came to Azzun Atma at 6.30 and there were 50 people in line. The soldiers checked papers and bags. Each man took about 20 minutes to get through. A Palestinian said that it was not an easy life. He works at one of the settlements and it takes him two hours to get to work and not the normal 30 minutes because of the checkpoints. Another one coming through says that when we are present the soldiers make them wait longer. This sounds strange because usually they say the opposite. We left at 7.20 and there was no line.

At the checkpoint of Za'tara where we arrived at 7.40 were about 15 cars in line. After some minutes the soldiers opened another lane and then everything streamed through. They stopped a car at random with 3 people in it. They checked them very carefully for 15 minutes. They even raised the seats to check underneath and then let them go on.  The checkpoint at the western point was closed. We left at 8.10 when there was no more light.

At 8.20 we got to Huwwara. There were few cars in the car park and few taxi drivers. There were hardly any people at the checkpoint. We went to the car area and a soldier turned to us and said that the place was a closed army area and asked us to move away. We said this was something new and the soldiers usually let us stay close enough to see what was happening. In any case we stayed there and he allowed this. There were about 12 cars and the checking was superficial until one was stopped and checked with the dog. Afterwards they stopped a bus with an Italian delegation on the way to Nablous. They would not let them through and they waited half an hour. At the same time Ahmad, the boy who used to sell sweets at the checkpoint until this was forbidden came to us and said that his brother had been arrested yesterday because he threw stones and asked us to help get him out.  His parents asked us to take them to the DCO which we did. There they were told to contact the police at Ariel. (As a result of this we did not see what happened to the Italian delegation). Rachel discussed this with Zacharia and he said that there was no necessity to bring the family to Ariel because they would not let them in. He gave them the phone number of a lawyer who could help them.

At 10.00 we left the checkpoint and went to Ahmad's mother at Burin where we stayed for a while hoping this would help her. She looked better than she had done at the checkpoint.

10.40 We started back to Tel Aviv.