'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 23.6.09, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
The checkpoints at Huwwara and along the way are manned, but they’re not as tough as they used to be because of what’s been happening, and also because of the summer.
No soldiers at the western position. A yawning soldier motions heavy traffic from Nablus through the checkpoint.
Phosphorescent signs scream, “A Jew must be on the side of the Jews. Whose side are you on?”
“The war is against the Arabs,” and other hateful messages on the road down to Nablus.
Awarta. The few vehicles are passed through without inspection.
“Random inspections,” says the commander. “The steel gate is open all the time.”
Are they planning to erect a shed? The commander chases us away. “That’s none of your business.”
We can count the number of parked taxis. There’s never been so much room between them. Piles of garbage surround the parking area on all sides. The taxi drivers have internalized the new rules and moved their taxis to the taxi stand in Nablus: “The checkpoint is kwayis now, manih” – that is, ok.
Few young men go through. Most of them are students. We wonder who’ll now choose to go through the checkpoint?
There are some people who still haven’t gotten used to the policy of random, superficial inspections. We watch the young men. Some still remove their belt, mobile phone, watch, ready for the rigorous inspection, and then the MP waves them through and they go. Some are asked, indifferently, to show their ID.
Some of them live on the outskirts of Nablus, so it’s easier for them to come to the checkpoint where they can get a taxi to their next destination. Others – students who get a ride to the checkpoint (saving the cost of one taxi fare), where they catch the taxi they need.
There’s a long line at the vehicle checkpoint, because people now go through in cars. From time to time the soldiers ask to see an ID, but the line – even when we counted 25 cars – takes only a few minutes to go through, in two lanes. “There aren’t enough soldiers to operate three lanes,” says the commander. “What’s the big deal – aren’t there also traffic jams on the Ayalon highway?”
The dispatchers – who know everything – say that the situation encourages people to open shops in Nablus. And prices of all the goods are lower in Nablus than in Huwwara.
Will we also soon be able to enter and leave Nablus?