Huwwara, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 21.9.11, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
Because of information about mobile and permanent roadblocks which are staffed in the small hours of the morning in the area between Hawwara and Irtach, we went there.
All the roadblocks were empty; in both of them there was a presence in the lookout tower. There were no mobile roadblocks on the way in either of the places specified.
We drove via Burin to Irtah. There were no mobile roadblocks on this road either.
We drove the car, bearing the flags of MachsomWatch and were given a fairly thorough inspection by the male and female soldiers at Kafriat Te'enim roadblock.
The whole area of the roadblock was full of people. Many were still crossing at a satisfactory pace through the roadblock. They said that the crossing was OK. They complained about problems on Fridays and were concerned about the closure during the Festival season.
Changes in the architecture of Irtah roadblock:
All of the part of the road which was used by people, up until recently, as a collection area for taxis and other cars has been completely closed up by concrete blocks and an iron barrier and turned into a large waiting area (where the only places to sit are on the low concrete blocks or rocks). This means that in the winter it will be a longer walk, on a much less even surface, from the roadblock itself to the cars, i.e.: much more exposure to rain and wind.
On the lane leading from the area across the fences, the 'Palestinian area', to the gates there have been two changes. 1. There is an awning above most of the lane from the huge awning on the other side of the electric gates of the roadblock. 2. Most of the covered lane has been built on a straight line, but just before the entrance there are three sharp, fairly long loops – i.e.: it is still possible to get thoroughly wet in the winter. There is no roofing in the area where people crowd around the electric gates.
In the, up to now, dilapidated area between the gates fenced in with layers of barbed wire and the area where people will congregate to wait, a very high metal building is in the process of being built with, beside it, a concrete building in the form of an open square. It is not easy to guess whether this will be an alternative entrance to the maze of inspection rooms or something else altogether.