Azun Atma, Huwwara, Awarta and Beit Furiq
Translation: Suzanne O.
Farewell to the Nablus roadblocks – really?!
Following the publicity about the recent deployment of the IDF at the Nablus roadblocks we went to see if our role there has really ended. The answer depends on the point of view of the observer. In the roadblocks surrounding Nablus from the west there really are no soldiers and the Palestinians cross unhindered. But, all of the buildings are still standing ready and the wheel can be turned back within minutes. The same is true for Za'tara/Tapuach: a border policeman observes the passing traffic. In contrast the yellow barrier at Awarta still bars the crossing. Why? No one knows. We spoke to the Humanitarian Centre, to the DCO., to the civilian administration and many others, no one has an answer. Our conclusion: the red headed man with the key locked up and went away and no one cares if the gate remains closed. So what?
There are no labourers in the queue. The energetic officer says: "We've got their number". There is an x-ray machine and those labourers carrying bags are requested to put them through the machine.
At the sides of the road tens of labourers gather around bonfires and wait for their employers who have not correctly estimated the pace of the exit from the roadblock.
At Shomron Crossing there is a civilian police presence at the exit from Israel and a long queue at the entrance.
The entrances to Marda and Zeita are open.
As we drove up we didn't see any soldiers in the positions. The traffic flows slowly but continuously because there are no inspections.
There is no military activity.
At the entrance to Madison Way there is a shiny sign in English and Arabic: Palestinian Vehicles to Awarta only and a similar sign by the turning to Awarta. Perhaps I will send a photo later.
Surprisingly the yellow barrier still bars the crossing and no one can explain why. The prevalent answer – let them drive via farm no. 5 (Huwwara).
There is no IDF presence but at the top of the hill two vehicles observe Madison Way so that, heaven forbid, it is not occupied by Palestinian cars.
There appears to be a reversal of the location of the guard positions. Instead of being at the entrance to the town of Nablus there is now a border police position at the entrance to the road leading up to Har Bracha. The border policeman says: "We were always located here" … The bird's eye position opposite the hitchhiking station is also staffed and a soldier guards the settlers.
There is no sign in the area around the roadblock that it is about to be dismantled. Electricity is on as usual, even at the check point which has been deserted for months. The electricity bill must bother the Defence Ministry.
We went up the mount as a farewell homage and saw that the Bracha settlement has grown and is developing into a fort.
A border police vehicle is parked at the exit from Huwwara, opposite Beita.
Traffic flows unhindered. One border policeman commands the whole junction. There are additional soldiers on the far hill.
In the area of the car park a new container is being set up. The citizens did not know/did not want to tell us its purpose.
At Shomron Crossing the inspection of those entering Israel is, as usual, superficial.
The whole time we were out we tried to speak to the Central Command HQ spokesperson who should be able to give us the authoritative answer to the question of the barrier in Awarta but there is no answer from the captain. If we become any the wiser over the next few days, we'll inform the site.