'Azzun, Habla, Huwwara, Tue 17.9.13, Afternoon
We went to see the remains of R’s tool shed in Madameh, which settlers had burned down.
12:55 Although the gate is open, it’s not possible to cross. Seven Palestinians wait to enter.
13:04 The first five enter the inspection area, along with two tractors and a donkey cart. The pickup truck from the plant nurseries exits along with a tractor and a private car.
Five young men come through the fields; they’re employed in agriculture. They walk directly to the inspection area; there’s no line. Everyone arriving goes through quickly.
13:15 We leave.
13:30 We stop to shop. Many girls returning from school, all wearing school uniforms.
Much construction everywhere. We see houses we hadn’t seen before.
We turn onto Highway 60 at the Jit junction.
14:25 Light vehicular traffic at the checkpoint in both directions. No inspections.
We stop in the village for falafel and wait for M. who’ll take us to the burnt tool shed. We return with him and drive north on Highway 60.
There are two buildings opposite the entrance to Yitzhar; one belongs to M’s parents. He tells us settlers from Yitzhar harass their occupants and often throw rocks at them.
We turn right opposite Madameh onto the road up to the military base on the hilltop. There is construction equipment on the road, building a pumping station to bring water from Nablus to Madameh’s 2000 residents (not counting the sheep, jokes our host). The village wasn’t connected to the water grid; the residents collected water in home cisterns. US Aid is funding the $5 million project.
We turn left off the road; there’s a sign at the junction in three languages: Majdallah neighborhood, named for R’s father. We drive up a dirt road, past electric poles, to an open area with a house in the initial stages of construction. R. greets us; he’s building his home and has received all the necessary permits from the Palestinian Authority in Nablus; he owns 7 dunums in Area B. He also put in the road and the electric poles.
R. shows us the remains of the tool shed next to the house; it was built of fencing and burned down Saturday night/Sunday morning. Charred remnants scattered around: a camping-gas balloon, a small television set, a laptop, electric drill, water barrels and many other tools, as well as the broken tool shed lock. He’s sure that settlers burned the tool shed; Palestinians wouldn’t dare (and wouldn’t be able to) because soldiers stationed at night among the trees along the road prevent residents of Madameh from accessing their lands across the road at night. He believes it’s because of the military camp on the hilltop. The army also enters the village frequently, children throw rocks and the soldiers reply with tear gas. That’s why the Palestinians in Madameh and in Burin prefer to stay in their homes after dark.
M. says that settlers from Yitzhar throw rocks at Palestinian vehicles, so they avoid travelling on Highway 60.
We say goodbye to them, drive to Tapuach junction and then to Highway 5.
On the way we see military vehicles on the road.
16:05 Tapuach junction. A few military and MP vehicles but there are no delays and we don’t see any dog handlers. Traffic flows.
16:25 Sha’ar Shomron checkpoint. About 8 vehicles in each lane; we went through without difficulty because we’d removed our banner.