'Azzun, Burin (Yitzhar), Eliyahu Crossing, Huwwara, Jit, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 16.5.11, Morning
06:50 Eliyahu gate
An army vehicle on the hill before the gate observes the road.
We saw Palestinians who’d already gone through the gate waiting for their rides. At least thirty Palestinians are still waiting at the gate to come through.
A military vehicle was waiting by the roadside at Nebi Elias.
07:00 We drove to 'Azzun via Izbat Tabib. We didn’t see any changes along the internal road where the army plans to erect a fence. Children wait for transportation to school.
'Azzun is quiet and still slumbering.
07:10 Jayyus agricultural gate
At least four tractors carrying laborers go through quickly.
Two tractors with young olive saplings to be planted: the female MP greets all the laborers with a “Good morning.” She says she knows all those who go through here.
07:15 The soldiers begin closing the gate, but wait for a Palestinian riding up quickly on a donkey and let him through.
07:25 Falamya agricultural gate
Very few people are crossing. But, since this is now the main road to Tulkarm, traffic is very heavy in both directions.
07:50 We leave
A poster at the entrance to Jayyus that we hadn’t noticed when we passed earlier refers to the Nakba, and is signed by the Jayyus municipality. We saw no signs of the Nakba and asked Palestinians whether anything happened yesterday. They said no.
At the entrance to 'Azzun we saw signs that tires had been burned.
We saw a number of military vehicles by the roadside, watching the road.
The “Shvut Ami” hill is deserted.
08:10 Jit junction. Soldiers at the Sara/Nablus side of the junction. Taxis slow down, the soldiers look inside and wave a greeting. We saw no cars stopped.
We turned right toward Jerusalem. A soldier stopped us, looked inside and sent us on our way.
08:15 Two soldiers stand at the entrance to Yitzhar, apparently guarding the hitchhiking station.
A few soldiers and a military vehicle at the Yitzhar junction, but traffic flows freely.
08:25 Huwwara checkpoint
There is much traffic in both directions: trucks, taxis and cars. There are no soldiers.
The only soldiers are in the guard tower. They come down to see who we are, and ask why we’ve come here. We explain, and when we mention that we want to see “whether they’re closing the entrance to Nablus” one of them says, totally serious: Why should we block the entrance to Nablus?!? Really, why… And this entire conversation took place in the shadow of the ruins of the terrifying checkpoint.
We stop for baklava. The guys are happy to see us, ask “Where’s Nadim?”
08:50 A military vehicle opposite the entrance to Beita.
More soldiers are looking into cars at the Tapuach junction, but not stopping them.
We continue homeward.
When we left today, we weren’t sure where we’d go and what we’d see the day after Nakba Day.
We may have seen a few more soldiers by the roadside, but there were no other outward signs of tension.
Huwwara, for example, seemed cleaner and more spruced-up, with more shops and more new cars.