We reach the Haris women’s club at 09:00. The coordinator isn’t there; this time she had left a key. Five women arrive. The others didn’t know there’d be a class. Naomi uses the lesson to review and go over a text they’d received last time. They participate actively; the conversation flows - in Hebrew.
We continue toward Tapuach junction following a report about a Palestinian who had been shot and killed there last night; according to the media he’d arrived armed and attacked the soldiers. A Border Police soldier was also said to have been wounded in the exchange of gunfire. According to the news, arrests were made last night in Huwwara.
We drive to Huwwara to see what’s going on .
Highway 5 toward Tapuach junction is open; there’s no unusual military presence, nor at the junction itself – only a reinforcement of soldiers at the hitchhiking station. The inspections didn’t seem rigorous.
Huwwara is shut down. Overturned garbage bins are burning on the road; a burning tire emits heavy black smoke a little farther away. There are many military, Border Police and police vehicles in the town. An ambulance speeds toward Tapuach junction. Armed soldiers in body armor remove the roadblocks. They ignore us and the few residents standing in the doorways of the closed shops.
Here’s what one of the residents told us: The locals decided to close the shops. The Israelis didn’t impose a closure; it’s a business strike in mourning and in solidarity with the family of the deceased.
The dead man, according to the locals, a 22-year-old, wasn’t armed. He arrived at Tapuach junction at 11:30 at night to receive a shipment of mobile phones for his store. He and his family have three telephone stores in Huwwara. He came in a taxi but the driver returned to the town; he remained there by himself, waiting for the Israeli businessman. Then the soldiers shot him.
The account raises many questions. Which haven’t any answers.
Huwwara junction (the entrance to Highway 60) is blocked by a civilian vehicle marked “Yitzhar Security,” and perpendicular to it is a car which apparently also belongs to settlers. No one enters or leaves. Cars coming from Nablus seek alternative routes. A uniformed policeman stands next to the settlers, maintaining disorder.
But at the Huwwara checkpoint everything is calm and peaceful, there are no inspections and traffic flows from Nablus.
On our way back we saw a Palestinian taxi detained at Tapuach junction and many more soldiers at the plaza and round about.
We returned via Highway 5.
The security guard at the Shomron crossing peeked into our car and smiled us on.