Aqraba, Eliyahu Crossing, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah)
13:10 Za’tara/Tapuach junction
Two soldiers at the pickup location opposite the checkpoint in the direction of Huwwara carefully inspect Palestinian vehicles.
13:20 Kafr Aqraba
We went to see the mosque that had been set on fire, and to hear what was happening. Here’s what the locals told us: Settlers, apparently from Tapuach, arrived at 2 AM Tuesday, broke a window and entered the mosque. The man delivering bread early in the morning witnessed the incident. He alerted residents of the village. It turns out that two weeks ago there was an attempted arson of a home opposite the mosque. It’s the lower mosque – the women’s mosque. The men’s mosque on the upper floor was locked, and they tried but failed to open the door. “Price tag – Tapuach is Kahanah” (misspelled, ending with a “heh” instead of an “aleph”) was written on the mosque’s exterior wall. The villagers notified the police as soon as they discovered the damage at 7 AM. The police arrived at noon!!!
When the arson was discovered village children (aged 12-14) came to the mosque and wrote on the charred walls, in Arabic, “We’re not leaving,” “We’re staying,” “We’re surviving.”
13:55 Za’tara/Tapuach junction. Soldiers on both sides of the junction, at the checkpoint and at the bus stop in the direction of Huwwara. This time we’re also questioned: where are we from…
14:30 Huwwara. The first tower isn’t manned. There seem to be soldiers in the second. We saw no soldiers standing at the checkpoint. Vehicles go through in both directions without inspection.
On our way back we spoke by phone with Munir. He said last Monday (6.10.14) settlers came down from Yizhar, picked olives from the village’s groves on the slopes of Yitzhar. The following day, Tuesday, they returned and cut down 15 olive trees. The grove’s owner was there and confronted them; they injured him in the head.
On the road from Tapuach to Huwwara and also on the way back we were struck by how few settlers’ cars we saw. At least during Simchat Torah they’re holed up at home; this week has been quiet thus far.
At the Eliyahu crossing on our way back they again made sure to ask where we were coming from and where we were going.