'Azzun, Beit Dajan, Burin (Yitzhar), Eliyahu Crossing, Huwwara, Shomron Crossing, Za'tara (Tapuah)

Observers: 
Ana S. Tamar S., Aliyah S.(reporting)
08/12/2013
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Morning
9:35 We entered the Palestinian territories through the Eliyahu Gate.
In Nebi Elias, life seemed to be going along as usual. Passing the western entrance to Azzun we noted the huge cement blocks that had blocked the road to the village; they were now at the side of the road and the road was open. At the main entrance to Azzun, which was open, an army jeep was parked. The soldiers had stopped a Palestinian car and were questioning the driver. The car was allowed to go into the village.
We had read what Michael Sfard wrote in Haaretz about Burin, which is between two Jewish settlements, Bracha and Yizhar, and about the attacks they had suffered from the Jewish settlers. We decided to ask about the situation there now. M. told us that in the last attack by settlers two incendiary bottles had been thrown at night into a house and had caused damage. Those who threw them ran away and the people in the house put out the fire. The people in Burin had complained every time about the attacks to the DCO. The following night a group of men dressed as Palestinians, but with faces covered, started to dig in an area near one of the Jewish settlements. The expectation was that settlers would come to chase them away, or even worse than that. But no settlers appeared. Then it turned out that these men, dressed as Palestinians, were actually Israeli soldiers from the Border Patrol who had been sent by the DCO to arrest any settlers who came to harras them. No one came, and the dressed-up soldiers left. Is it possible that someone had tipped off the settlers?? No arrests were made. A military jeep was parked opposite the entrance road to Yizhar.
As usual we drove past the Huwwara checkpoint to see if anything had changed. There were no soldiers around (probably in the watch tower) and the traffic was smooth. In the empty parking lot we saw a huge stack of cement blocks. We wondered what they might be for. As we turned to leave the area of the checkpoint 2 soldiers stopped the car and told us, "You have no right to stop here in this area!!"  Tamar pulled out the page she had printed out from Machsom Watch with the specific instruction that we have the right to monitor checkpoints and read it out loud to them. One soldier was on a communications phone with his officer, and it seems that he was told to leave us alone.
We visited the valley at the entrance to the road to Beit Dajan. The farmers are waiting for the rains in order to plow and plant. Za'atra (Tapuach Junction) was very empty and quiet. There were soldiers in the watch towers and two soldiers at the busstop/tramp station on the road to Ramallah. We left through the Shomron Gate as the guard waved us on.