'Anabta, 'Azzun, 'Azzun 'Atma, Jit, Te'enim Crossing, Mon 12.9.11, Morning
.We planned to cover Route no. 3, but since we were asked to meet a Palestinian from Tulkarm at 'Anabta and get his signature on documents we changed the location at which we started.
07:10 Te’anim checkpoint. Traffic flows.
07:15 Karin suggested we turn to the road to Avnei Hefetz to see whether the entrance to Izbat at Tabib is still open or whether it was again blocked after the end of Ramadan and Eid el Fitr.
And in fact it’s been closed again, this time with a yellow gate and heavy concrete blocks to obviate any doubts!
We saw a few people riding donkeys at this hour of the morning, coming from Shufa and going through the roadblock on their way to Izbat Shufa People also walk the long distance on foot. A large taxi arrives from Izbat Shufa, lets off some passengers and waits by the roadblock for people on foot who hurry to get in and ride to Izbat Shufa or on to Tulkarm.
07:25 We return to the main road and see on the way between Shufa and Einav two military vehicles by the roadside.
07:30 We meet A. at the turn to the 'Anabta checkpoint and he signs the documents that S. has sent with us.
To connect with Route no. 3 we cross from Route 60 via Jit junction to Route 55 through Funduq to'Azzun where we then begin. We saw no military vehicles on the way but much Palestinian traffic. Children cross the main road in Jit village on their way to school.
07:50 We go through Funduq. Many shops are open and many pedestrians are on the street.
Israeli flags fly from electrical poles all along the road, more or less from the turn to Moshe Zar’s fortress until beyond the turn to Karnei Shomron.
08:00 The pillboxes on both sides of the entrance to 'Azzun are also decorated with Israeli flags; the lights are on.
From here we follow Route no. 3. The description is accurate and the road is very lovely.
Paragraph 7 of the description of the route brings us to Abu Sliman village and a stop sign where instead of turning left we can continue straight to an agricultural gate open between 06:00-06:30 and 17:00-17:30. (Gate no. 1419; if someone wants to go there in the afternoon they should confirm with the DCO that those hours are still in effect).
08:20 We follow the directions to the northern 'Azzun 'Atma checkpoint, where crossing is unrestricted (Par. 8). The buildings of the settlement of Sha’arei Tikva literally dominate the village. We continue to the southern checkpoint where we’re not allowed through. Dozens – perhaps hundreds – of cars are parked before the checkpoint, belonging to laborers from all the neighboring villages to work in the area’s settlements and in agriculture in the adjoining seam zone.
About 10 laborers wait at the entrance to the inspection building.
We return to the exit from the village and follow the directions. From time to time, when we were unsure we were heading in the right direction, we asked people who always responded very courteously and pleasantly.
The village of Rafat (Par. 14) sits on a hill and the road up to it winds around and descends very steeply, ascends to the village and again descends on the other side winding steeply. We continue following the directions.
The Deir Ballut checkpoint is open and traffic is unrestricted, but it’s clear that controls can be reinstituted at any minute.
09:45 We reach Bruqin village (Par. 17), stop next to a large building with a sign in English and Arabic indicating that it’s the post office; it turns out to be the municipal building. We ask where the turn is to Route 5 and receive, of course, an answer but are also asked who we are and are immediately invited for coffee in the municipality.
The settlement of Bruqin can be seen opposite the village.
We tell the secretary of the municipality and a number of people who gather in his office about MachsomWatch, give him phone numbers to call and discuss the situation in Hebrew, English and Arabic (Nina’s). The mayor also shows up and invites us to his sumptuous office. We talk with him; he describes the village and its most serious problem – a demolition order for a new school and a new mosque built in Area C (on village land). An attorney from Ramallah is handling the case. We give him the phone number of Yesh Din and the Association for Civil Rights. I leave the mayor my phone number and take his elaborate business card.
We meet a man whose olive grove adjoins the settlement’s houses, and even though there’s no fence the settlers don’t let him cultivate the land and harvest the olives. When he asks the soldiers for help they chase him away. He says he possesses all the documents proving the grove belongs to his family. He claims the Palestinian DCO isn’t helping him. We suggest he contact Zecharia and the rabbis regarding the harvest.
10:15 We say goodbye very amicably and continue on our way.
We drive from Brukin to the western Ariel industrial zone and go through an open checkpoint which can easily be closed again. The road leads to Route 5 through the Shomron crossing to Israel.