'Awarta, 'Azzun, Huwwara, Tue 31.5.11, Morning
We enter the territories through Eliyahu Gate. The passage is flowing.
There is a long convoy of cars coming from the direction of the exit to Israel, all of which are inspected. We drive on road 55 through Azzun, Sarra and Asira al Qibilya towards Huwwara. Beside military vehicles parked here and there by the roadside, no checkpoint can be seen along the road. The construction of the fence is in progress and it is getting thicker. On top of the hills the settlements are conspicuous. The Arab villages are below, at the foot of the hills.
At 08:15 we reach Huwwara checkpoint, which is completely deserted. Not even one soldier can be seen in the whole surrounding area. We get very close to the checking points operating some times by the soldiers but there, too, we neither see nor hear anybody.
Both at the entrance and the exit from Nablus, there is a lively, undisturbed traffic of vehicles including, of course, trucks.
Until a short while ago all the residents were considered suspects and had to go through inspection. All that is gone now. A desolate checkpoint whose building consumed a great deal of money is the only testimony to what was here before.
Awarta checkpoint is deserted. We take the route that not long ago was used by trucks loaded with merchandise. Tens of heavy vehicles had to pass through a peaceful village in order to keep away from the Apartheid roads and avoid, as ordered, entering Nablus through Huwwara.
We get to the town of Huwwara, where a big college training young men and women as nurses, is located. (The great majority are women with head covers).
Nurit V., who, in the past established a professional contact with one of the trainers, suggests cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian nurses. We meet with the dean of the college whom Nurit knows from previous meetings in Jerusalem. She favours the idea and thinks that the way to do it is by initiating interpersonal encounters, especially with trainers and teachers, rather than having organized connections, which entail a lot of problems and official permission. The construction that houses the college was originally built to serve as a hospital, but since there are already two hospitals in Nablus (11 hospitals in the West Bank) – there was no need for an additional one and the construction was converted into a college. The students that learn in this college come from different places in the West Bank. During the week they live in rented apartments in the area. The duration of their studies is four years. In the town of Huwwara building on a large scale is going on.
We go back through Tapu'ah junction. Three bored soldiers stand near the checkpoint and pay no attention to the passing cars. As we pass Shomron Gate, we are stopped by a policewoman who wants to know where from and where to we are going and also checks our ID cards.