'Awarta, Beit Furik, Beit Iba, Eyal Crossing, Habla, Huwwara, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 26.12.10, Morning
Not exactly a shift, but more of an additional tour for Aviva and Antia, who are joining Machsomwatch.
07:15 Irtach When we arrived, we saw workers still going out on foot in the direction of Taybeh, as well as taxis waiting for passengers within the checkpoint parking lot. Very few people in the area of the turnstiles, no hurry, the turnstiles were open.
07:35 Eyal We parked in the lot and entered in order to make acquaintance with this passage. Although I explained how to get here, it seemed irrelevant to me in the present situation when they do not allow us to see the crossing point and the director of the checkpoint wants us to "co-ordinate" with him (at 04:00?) since, if we don't, there are snipers around who might shoot at us. This same director ran towards us very energetically, crying out "Who are you, what are you doing here?" (We were in the plaza, for those who know the place, right at the entrance; to our right, Palestinians in holiday dress waiting for transport - visiting prisoners? To our left, there are the last of the workers going out to work). When he gets closer and identifies us, he continues to shout "I have an arrangement with you, don't I?" With such depressing violence we simply turned around and went back to the car. Case closed. On the outside gate, we saw, next to the "Do Not Photograph" sign, an additional, new blue sign on which was written: "Entrance by permit only". I photographed the sign. And then, we couldn't believe our eyes: 3 real Rambo types ran so fast in our direction that I thought a raging lion was attacking a child behind us! But they stopped next to us, with drawn weapons, calling out "She photographed!" etc. Two minutes later, and a lot more shouting on the walkie-talkie, without saying a word to us, they left.
08:25 Habla, agricultural gate. No Palestinians. About 8 soldiers, probably reserve, and a jeep.
08:30 Lock up, exactly on time. Sweep the path under the gate, leave. Aviva and Antia were in Beit Iba a month ago and there was a checkpoint on highway #60, in the direction of Sebastiya. Today we went by there and there was no checkpoint. We traveled a bit within Sebastiya; we saw a women sweeping and cleaning the dust from the street, across from her house, with total dedication and love.
10:15 Hawarra checkpoint. No delays in traffic. We learned something new today: the piece of the road from the checkpoint in the direction of the DCO and all the way to Awarta is open for Palestinian cars. A taxi driver explained that it is allowed to travel up to the turnoff to Awarta only. The rest is forbidden for Palestinian travel. For example, Beit Furik to Awarta is closed. The Awarta checkpoint is closed.
10:30 Beit Furik checkpoint. To our surprise, there were soldiers on the road who checked cars very carefully at the exit and entrance in the direction of Nablus. Cars opened their hoods, and they checked a tractor from every direction. A short line of vehicles, only one lane open for inspection, either entering or exiting.
11:30 Tapuach checkpoint. A lot of vehicles, no delays. 2 soldiers look at the vehicles, but don't stop them, during the time we were there. We continued toward the village of Tapuach to see the road. Up to Tapuach, the road is nice, 2 lanes and well marked. One meter after the turnoff to Tapuach, the road ends. For all of the Palestinian villages from there on - Yasuf, Iskaka, and the large Salfit - there is an altogether different sort of road.