'Awarta, 'Azzun 'Atma, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 19.8.09, Morning
7:30 Azzun Atme:
The gate was closed. Several workers were still waiting across the road for their rides to work. They said the passage this morning had been fine.
7:55 Za'tra: 9 cars were waiting in line.
8:10 Beit Furik:
The checkpoint was essentially empty. One soldier stood to the side and the vehicles (2 of them) passed with no stopping.
8:15 Awarta: No movement of cars.
The vehicular traffic is moving smoothly in both directions.
An open pickup truck going into Nablus is stop and turned back to Awarta. A car with a yellow
license plate was sent to the parking lot.
8:25 The exit side from Nablus: A car with a yellow license plate is waiting on the side to be checked by the dog and its handler. The conscientious female soldier dog-handler had the dog go into every possible corner of the car, sometimes twice. We, the observers, were, of course, disturbing the soldiers by just being there so we were sent to stand a few feet further away.
2 passengers from the car, standing to the side, were from the territories. The driver was told by the soldiers that he couldn't take the 2 men because he was from Jerusalem. As he stood a minute before leaving to explain to us what had been said to him, the 2 men got their ID cards back from the soldiers, advanced towards the car, got in and they all went off together. The total time of their delay was 11 minutes.
A taxi was stopped in order to check the ID cards - about 4 minutes.
A passenger car carrying agricultural produce (mainly sabras and plums) was stopped for 10 minutes. The driver begged the soldiers not to detain him as the produce would spoil quickly in the heat. The soldier was very busy supplying me with his special logic: Soldier to me: "You go over there." I: "So then how can I speak with this man?" "Call him to you,that's permitted for him." I: "No."
Meanwhile, the lane going into Nablus was suddenly partially blocked by a large plastic barrier. Thus the drivers could no longer drive straight ahead and had to do a small 'slalam'.
2 cars with yellow license plates go into Nablus without being stopped; another is sent to the parking lot.
We pull up what is an enormous traffic jam. The narrow 2 lane road has become a 3 lane road because some cars (among them many settlers' cars) have no patience and are trying to pass everyone. This of course blocks the opposite lane so the vehicles, especially big trucks, can't get through. So everyone is standing longer.
2 checkpoints are open for going out; one for settlers. A dog-handler is busy on one side, but at the checkpoint itself there is almost no checking. After waiting in line for a long time we finally got to the checkpoint when the traffic was moving smoothly. We asked a soldier what had been the problem that caused the jam. The soldier in charge of the checkpoint said, "I do not acknowledge that I am permitted to tell you." (That's a quote, I didn't make it up.) "So I won't tell you."
9:40 We left.