'Awarta, 'Azzun 'Atma, Huwwara, Jit, Wed 7.9.11, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
Increased presence of military vehicles all along the way. Preparations for 20 September 2011 are at their height.
13:30 Azzun Atma. Two female soldiers in the inspection booth. An army Hummer stops and four soldiers wearing full kit emerge. The soldier near the booth comes over to us and asks what we’re doing here. He sees our badge and grins. If it says “No to checkpoints,” what can we want at the checkpoint, he asks. He never heard of Machsom Watch. Another soldier comes over to distance him from us. End of discussion.
We drive back west and get on Route 5 toward Ariel. Security roads on the left and right. We turn left at an intersection with a traffic light, onto Route 505 toward Emanuel. We take the first right onto Route 5066 and enter Haris. The owner of the grocery is watching a soccer game on television. A guy who speaks fluent Hebrew joins us. He says that the Palestinians are concerned about work permits that have been taken away with no explanation. He worked as a supervisor for nine years in a factory in Barkan, and one day, three years ago, he was informed that the GSS denied him a permit. He went to the DCO a number of times, contacted a lawyer and submitted a letter of recommendation from his boss. Nothing helped. We gave him Sylvia’s phone number.
14:20 Kifl Haris – We turn left at a T-junction with a fenced marble column. We stop at a nearby grocery, clean and well-organized. The owner doesn’t speak Hebrew or English, but we shop and are pleased by courteous service.
15:00 Deir Istiya – Shops are closed, no one on the street. We pass a splendid mosque under construction, but no one is working there.
We reach a new, wide road, fenced sidewalks on each side. We find an open grocery and go in. The owner doesn’t speak Hebrew, but we get by in English. He hasn’t seen a single Israeli soldier for a year. Some of the village’s 5000 residents work in Israel, in Barkan, or cultivate their land. He says that all the land on which Emanuel and Yakir settlements were built used to belong to residents of the village. Their problem is the flying checkpoints on the roads.
We continue north on the refurbished road, connect to Route 5066 toward Emanuel (a right turn) and then onto Route 55 (right turn).
15:30 Al Funduq –The road through the center of the locality divides it between Area C on one side and Area B on the other. We stroll through the village lanes. A young man addresses us in Hebrew from a window. He and his three brothers work in Israelin renovations.
On our way back to the car we meet a guy wearing a black shirt on which is written “Land” in Hebrew. We ask him what it means. He says he’s a chef in a kosher catering company from Qedumim settlement which has business all over the country. Yesterday evening they had an event in Tiberias. The work day is long – from morning to late at night, and he earns only NIS24/hour.
We continue toward Qedumim. A Hummer and two settlers by the roadside.
16:00 Jit junction. We turn right onto Route 60. A flying checkpoint on the road in the other direction. Military vehicles on both sides of the road. No cars next to them.
Another military vehicle on the roadside and some soldiers standing on a hill observing the road.
A military Hummer north of Huwwara.
16:10 Huwwara checkpoint. Light traffic in both directions. It looks to us like the unused pedestrian entrance was recently given a thorough cleaning and all the surrounding weeds and thistles uprooted. No one in the observation tower; only half a flag flying above it. A single soldier in the wooden tower closer to Huwwara.
Awarta checkpoint– deserted.
16:20 Beit Furik –No one in the observation tower, nor any flag. Light traffic flows in both directions. We return to the plaza in front of the Huwwara checkpoint and turn left toward Za’tara/Tapuach junction.
16:40 Via Huwwara to Za’tara/Tapuach junction. Army and military police at the junction. A new concertina wire fence around the parking lot.
17:20 Shomron crossing. Cars pass now and then in both directions.