'Awarta, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Mon 15.6.09, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
Summary: At Za'atra there is no roadblock for those coming from the west. The inspections for those coming from the north are swift.
At Huwwara, at the exit from Nablus, most of the people cross by car and, in spite of the additional vehicles; the waiting time is relatively short.
Traffic is heavy on the roads, apparently because of the easing of the crossing at the roadblocks.
Marda and Beita: open.
Zeita: the entrance is barred, as usual.
There are no soldiers in the vehicle inspection booth for those coming from the west; the same is true on our way back.
From the north (Nablus) 30 vehicles are being inspected at two checkpoints.
On our way back, at 8:50 a.m., there were 8 cars in the queue and they crossed without inspection. A white police jeep was parked in the area.
On our way in there were no soldiers. On our way back we saw a Border Police vehicle detaining a taxi.
A military vehicle and a Border Police jeep were parked in the middle of the village but when we went through they were not detaining Palestinian vehicles.
On our way back a Border Police jeep was parked by a vehicle with a yellow number plate.
7:25 - 8:35 a.m.
Vehicles: on our arrival we counted (from the road to the settlement 'Bracha') 35 cars from the direction of Nablus. Only one checkpoint was open. We spoke to the DCO representative A., (A'asam) who said that the soldiers were on a meal break. 5 minutes later another checkpoint was opened. We counted 17 cars inspected within 10 minutes, i.e.: waiting time of over 20 minutes.
The x-ray machine has been moved to the pedestrian roadblock...
A female soldier with a dog was present and she stopped vehicles for inspection. Each one was held up for about 5 minutes.
A third checkpoint was opened. This time we counted 31 cars crossing within 10 minutes. And still we could not see the end of the queue from the direction of Nablus.
On the way to the roadblock Niva noticed heavier than usual traffic on the road in the direction of Nablus and back. A., says that now people prefer to cross the roadblock by vehicle (and indeed many taxis crossed in both directions). He told us that yesterday the queue was much longer, in spite of 3 checkpoints being open. The taxi car park, which is usually so full that not even a pin can be squeezed in, was half empty. It appears that more permits are being given out to taxis and even the waiting time is not too long, since passengers are no longer required to alight from the vehicle to walk the few hundred metres, to wait at the pedestrian roadblock and then to find another taxi but (unbelievably!) they can leave Nablus by one taxi and stay in it until they reach their destination.
A private car is detained and is parked at the side. A while later we witness something unbelievable in the roadblock reality: two people, Palestinians, dare to cross the road and walk over to the look-out tower, and there they talk to the soldier (perhaps the roadblock commander), and no one shouts at them, no one sends them back, on the contrary, the conversation is carried on in a civilised fashion. It seems that the paratroops are still running the roadblock. There is no other explanation. A few minutes later they are permitted to cross the roadblock.
There is a car with a yellow number plate at the entrance to Nablus. The driver shows a permit and he is allowed to enter (this is usually possible only on Saturday). Another car is turned back in spite of the fact that the driver has a green ID card...
Niva notices that the drivers now enter Nablus with more confidence, they drive through without the usual reflex of waiting for the soldier's beckoning finger.
When we return to the vehicle checkpoint at 8:30 a.m., the queue has vanished. 8 vehicles are being inspected at 2 checkpoints. The dog handler continues to inspect, this time a taxi.
Pedestrians: the roadblock is empty. Later a few people arrive and cross without waiting. Even so, the irritable voices of the Military Policewomen can be heard over the loudspeakers.
In the direction of the entrance to Nablus there is heavy traffic.
3 taxi drivers sell their wares by the turnstile. A soldier calls one of them and threatens that he will be sent to the 'jora' if he doesn't move away. He does move away but others continue.
At the car park there are only two stalls now, selling cold and hot drinks, and our friend brewing tea and coffee in his old banger. Mahmoud also arrives, the boy with the sweets, who supports a family of 7 by selling sweets for a shekel.
There is one car at the exit from Nablus. We do not hang around.