'Azzun, 'Azzun 'Atma, Huwwara
9:40 We entered the Palestinian territories through Eliyahu Gate. The small town of Nabi Elias was quiet; business was going on as usual.
At the main entrance to Azzoun there was a military jeep on the side of the road. Two soldiers were standing with their guns by the jeep. The gate to the town was open and the traffic was going in and out without any problem that we could see.
In Funduk it was business as usual. Jit junction was open but there was very sparse traffic, perhaps because the weather was rainy.
Huwarra checkpoint was empty and the traffic was moving both directions. Beit Furiq checkpoint was empty, as usual.
At the bus stop to Bracha, and also at the bus stop to Huwarra (from the direction of Nablus) soldiers were standing with their rifles pointed at the road. We didn't remember seeing that ever before.
When we came into the falafel shop in Huwarra, two young boys, maybe about 8 years old, were waiting to get their falafels. One boy had a bag of Bamba from which he was eating. Ana and I stepped up to order our falafels. The boy said, "Marchaba" and we answered him. Then he held out a piece of Bamba to Ana and one to me. We said, "Shuchran," and we all smiled at each other. I wish those Israelis who say that the children are taught to hate us could have seen this simple, human exchange. The boy got his falafel and waved goodbye to us.
Z'atra (Taapuach Junction) was empty in the center. Two soldiers were standing at the side of the road from Nablus, but they weren't checking anyone. As usual, there were 2 soldiers on guard at the bus stop on road 60 to Ramallah.
We drove to see the new road and the new wall that closes off Azzoun Atmeh. It was the first time we had seen it and we were astounded. Nadim explained that the workers, who work in Israel and used to be picked up right outside the gate to Azzoun Atmeh, now have to go to Habla and Qalqilia and from there to pass through Eyal Gate. This, of course, makes their way to work much, much longer.
We left the territories through Shomron Gate.