'Awarta, Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 22.10.09, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
The Golani Brigade is working in the area and it is all very tense.
At Sha'ar Shomron to the east there is a police roadblock, there are a lot of Border and civilian Police.
The entrance to Marda is open; the barrier at Zeita has been redone and is higher than before.
The roadblock from Ariel to the Junction is not staffed. On the road going up from Huwwara there is some traffic but no queue.
There is no Border Police jeep opposite the entrance to Beita.
The roadblock is not functioning.
The soldiers' post has been moved to stand beside the entrance lane to the town. The roadblock is run by soldiers from the Golani Brigade, they are new recruits and new at the roadblock. They are afraid of their own shadows. Everything is a military secret. They are concerned that we are driving in an unarmoured car. They are not prepared to give any information on the olive harvest in the area - whether it has finished, whether there were problems. They argue about where we can park, where we can stand.
On the whole, however, they did their work and did not cause any traffic hold ups.
There is no queue. A dog handler is checking a loaded van thoroughly. Another driver whose documents are being checked is asked to park at the side so as not to interfere with the car behind which crosses without an in depth inspection.
There are improvements at the roadblock. (I have not been there since the beginning of September.) The paved area has been widened. The car lane to Nablus is spacious and can be driven along smoothly without hold ups. There are 4 lanes but only one of them is staffed. The traffic to and from the town is heavy. The DCO representative stands at his position and waves traffic through. According to him if he was not there the inexperienced soldiers would have caused havoc. Approximately one in ten vehicles is stopped for inspection and, indeed, a queue builds up immediately.
A taxi whose occupants have come up 'bingo' is directed to the side and the dog handler comes over to carry out an in depth inspection, including hand bags. It takes about 20 minutes before they are released.
Unloaded vans trying to leave the town are turned back and sent to Awarta.
The soldiers are under a lot of pressure, they did not let us park in the usual place. They are concerned about our security and the security of the State. They are not prepared to talk to us.
We asked the officer and the DCO representative what will happen in the winter, how will the dog handler inspect the cars - they promised that the passengers will not be forced to stand in the rain. According to the DCO rep., the olive harvest in the area passed without incident and, apart from one section, is now over.
130 cars are queuing right up to the town. Cars belonging to Israelis overtake on the way up on the white line endangering everyone's lives.
When we got to the inspection area a military vehicle which had arrived with great difficulty had stopped and apparently criticised the officer, another lane was opened immediately and within 20 minutes the queue had disappeared.
A pickup truck with two Palestinians in it, accompanied by a military vehicle, stands in the car park. According to the Palestinian he had come to look for the mobile phone his father had forgotten in the olive grove the day before. According to the soldiers he had come to steal metal fencing. Their documents were taken away and the officer ordered them to wait until the civilian police arrived.