'Azzun 'Atma, Beit Furik, Habla, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 29.1.13, Afternoon
13:30-14:05 Habla agricultural gate
Few people crossing. No particular complaints this time. We seriously question how late in the afternoon the gate opens: 17:30-18:15!! That’s very late and dark during the winter; why only for three-quarters of an hour; why not earlier? We understand that most people return between 16:00 to 17:00.
14:10 Eliyahu gate
Not crowded. Two Palestinian vehicles being inspected off to the side.
More soldiers than usual on both sides of the checkpoint. They’re very busy, stop many cars, make people put their hands up for inspection. It turns out the unit was called because of a stabbing incident a short time earlier at the Za’tara junction (a Palestinian tried to stab a settler). The suspects, who hadn’t yet been located, were found while we were there. The checkpoint commander informed us so that we’d take care. The line of cars heading toward Nablus was very long (much longer than usual), which we attributed to the response to the incident at the Za’tara junction. Because of the long line we decided to see what was going on at Beit Furiq. We drove there, but found no soldiers; vehicles came through from the direction of Nablus.
Three military vehicles drove toward us in the town, going in the direction of Nablus.
16:05 Za’tara junction
Two soldiers stationed at the bus stop (two settlers were there also). One soldier in the observation tower and two more at the junction – one on each side. Cars went through without delays.
16:15 A military jeep and some soldiers stood at the entrance to Kifl Hars.
A fairly strong military presence today, compared to what we’d seen during previous visits two weeks and one month ago.
16:30 Azzun Atma
Only two soldiers on guard. The MP sits inside, inspecting documents. About 20 people on the line; it moves quickly.
We want to repeat that it’s important to ask Palestinians crossing through Habla whether the gate doesn’t open too late on winter afternoons (17:30-18:15), and whether it’s not already too dark. Because when we left occupied country before 17:30 the sun had already set to its west…