'Azzun 'Atma, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 28.10.09, Afternoon
The junction was very quiet. There were 6 cars going through in the direction of Nablus.
As we got out of the car a soldier came up to tell us we can't be at the checkpoint because we disturb his work. We explained politely that we are there to observe and we will in no way interfere with his work. Then he said we have to stand out of the way "over there", but we can't just walk straight over there. We have to go down into the parking lot and then come up the steps to be over there. We didn't argue with him. The whole thing was so silly. Then a second soldier came to us and asked for our ID cards. He read mine very carefully before handing it back. What did he think he would find there?
Cars and taxis were going out of Nablus quite smoothly, but trucks were turned back toward Nablus. The officer in charge of the checkpoint came over to us and was friendly. We asked him about the trucks and were told that they have to go through Awarta. There were 2 or 3 cars coming out that were stopped and checked by a woman soldier and her dog. It seemed to be random.
As we were leaving at 15:35 we saw a long line of vehicles going into the city. Suddenly there was a lot of traffic, but it was moving smoothly.
15:45 Beit Furik:
We could see a line of 9 vehicles coming out of the city. Each car was being checked at the checkpoint. A well loaded tender went to the checkpoint and turned right into the field. It continued to travel through the field on a clear dirt path, parallel to the apartheid road, until it went into the village of Salim. At that point we saw a large truck coming from Salim and also travelling along the same path through the fields. It reached the checkpoint, just opposite where the soldiers stand, and without stopping or being stopped, turned and went to Beit Furik. There are alternatives to the apartheid roads.
What a scene! Every road into the junction is jammed with vehicles. The circle is completely jammed with vehicles. Almost no one is moving. There might have been a hundred cars there; everyone wanting to go in a diffent direction. Loads of police were milling around. We didn't stop because there was no place to stop. But with our Israeli license plates we managed somehow to get through. Obviously something was happening, but not right there. We continued on toward Azun Atmeh.
16:40 Hares junction:
As we came closer we saw long lines of cars waiting to go through the stoplight. Then we saw that the right lane was blocked by a police car. The right shoulder of the road was blocked by a car whom the policeman had told to stand there. Only the left lane was moving slowly through the light. There were armed policemen watching each car as it came up to stand in line to go through the stoplight. Our speculation was that they were looking for someone at Za'tara and on the road going toward Israel.
17:00 Azzun Atmeh:
Workers were going through smoothly all the time. A soldier told us we could not go into the village to go to the other checkpoint. One young man was sitting at the side. He told us they had taken his ID card and his papers. The soldiers assured us they were checking and would return them soon.