'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 2.7.09, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
A new era has started at the Nablus roadblocks. Today's star: the wave of the hand - drive on through.
We did not go into Azun Atma because of constraints.
At Sha'ar Shomron eastward there are no inspections at all.
The entrance to Marda is open, Zeita is still barred.
The roadblock from Ariel to the junction is not staffed. On the road coming up from Huwwara there is traffic but no queue. The soldiers wave them through. In the car park a bus waits for documents.
There is no Border Police jeep at the entrance to Beita.
A Border Police jeep patrols backwards and forwards at Huwwara.
The roadblock is not active.
This is a new era. Almost no one is inspected at the car lane. The soldiers stand in both lanes and wave cars through. At the most they say Good Morning to the driver. And indeed there is no queue at all at the exit from Nablus and the entrance is also clear. There is no dog handler and the DCO representative is present.
At the pedestrian roadblock the Military Policewomen are still there in their shelters and a paratrooper guards them. But there are no customers. A young man arrives and, when asked why he crossed via the roadblock, he explained that he lives in Kalil village which is close by and it is convenient for him to come to the car park to get a taxi. Just a few Palestinians arrive from time to time with their belts in their hands but no queue builds up.
The Military Policewomen are not happy that I enter their holy territory to talk to the soldier but he does not care.
There are very few taxis in the car park. Even the bagels are not fresh. There is no one to sell them to.
The drivers are suspicious. As long as the fixture is there and a soldier is within it - orders can change in the twinkling of an eye. Years of occupation have made them mistrustful.
There is no queue. We asked the soldier if the rumour that private cars from Awarta can cross from there to Nablus is true and he denied it. It is still only a crossing for lorries and VIP cars and the residents of Awarta will have the honour of driving round and round to cross at the Huwwara roadblock.
From afar we see a chaotic queue of cars at the entrance to the town. The soldiers have barred the entrance lane and they are inspecting cars entering and leaving in one lane. While one lot enter the others wait. The commander orders the soldiers not to talk to us. We telephoned the DCO and they promised to find out if there is a reason for the sudden rigidity. Afterwards the commander sends a taxi driver to tell us that as long as we stay there the roadblock will be at a standstill. (It was a piece of luck that Amal was with us so that we understood what the driver was sent to tell us.) Before we had time to start our vehicle up, the soldiers suddenly started to wave and the queue disappeared.
When we got back to Huwwara we asked the DCO representative to find out what is going on and to speak to the commander who appears not to have taken in the new atmosphere.
There is no queue at the car inspection area and only very few pedestrians cross.
There is no queue and the traffic flows almost without inspections. In the car park there are some civilian police with a group of female soldiers. We told them that, in the present situation, they will soon be sent to guard the Kirya and one of them replied: It can't come soon enough.