'Azzun 'Atma, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 11.8.09, Afternoon
The media continue to confuse checkpoints with the Occupation; continue to concentrate on "improvements," including the end to the choking of Palestinian commerce and the fact that Palestinian Israelis are allowed to drive their own cars into the West Bank to shop. What are not emphasized are the local Palestinian population's continuingly cruel existence and the overall preponderance of the culture of security with its absence of mechanisms for monitoring and critiquing the security establishment: other than a few organizations and, of course, MachsomWatch.
12:00 Gate 1549/50 beyond Elkana
A private security truck, belonging to the settlement, follows up to the gates and remains with us, "on guard" during our entire visit. We note that another private security guard stands, doing nothing, but guarding two Palestinian workers who labor under the noon day sun putting up or reconditioning (not clear which) a water filtration plant just outside the perimeter of the settlement but next to the two remaining Palestinian families that live behind the several locked gates, between the settlement and the separation barrier. Although a film has been made of the plight of these families, the "sumud" or steadfast perseverance shown by the father of six who lives in one of the houses must be experienced in reality to be understood. We gaze at the few meters of wall that has already been built, with its colorful mural painted by "people form England or America (a few years ago, but what does it matter, they've gone although the wall remains), trying to fathom the evil that man has wrought by building settlements, improving one or continuing to build another while caging human beings into almost literal cages, day in, day out. Just then, the father, his wife and two children return from grocery shopping, going through one gate and proceeding to talk to us through the bars of another. Of the three families in this area, but two remain (yes, the other was forced out), but "I can't think of living elsewhere" says Hanee as he tells, with pride, of the giant nursery that he once had, here, on what was once the main road to the coast or to Nablus and further east, in spite of the "always something new" created by the security forces (on behalf of the settlement). The two families are locked in every night at 7:00, curfew is broken only at 5:30 in the morning, and Hanne's tractor driver cannot reach the fields (no permit). The army often comes every night, purposely frightening the children with their guns, they come frequently during the day (were here earlier). So life is hard, much is forbidden, everything, is "really bad."
12:45 Azzun Atme
The soldiers get up when we arrive but seem in a stupor (as most others we saw today).
Shaare Shomron (on Route 5)
On the side of the road, a woman M.P. inspects a truck, and there's a short line trying to pass. On the eastbound side of th4 road, no checking, but a lot of materiel, police and army in the center of the checkpoint.
Women seen clamberer over the blocks preventing easy access to the main road, a few cars and a mini bus parked on the far side.
Freely flowing traffic, but a longer line toiling upthe hill from the Huwarra direction.
14:15 Beit Furik
Soldiers sitting doing their duty as a tanker and a truck arrive from the Nablus direction budo not stir from their sitting position, bestirring themselves when one of us takes photos.
The solider at the entry way to the checkpoint objects to our parking in the now empty parking lot where once taxis stood. "Who are you?" There are soldiers in the vehicle checking booths and in the military towers.
Outpost of Har Gilad
Approaching on to the main roadway a blue police jeep descends from what looks like an alive and well outpost with, on its hood, several empty fruit (or vegetable) cartons! Several cars are visible on the far from dead outpost.