'Azzun 'Atma, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Shomron Crossing
Translation: Suzanne O.
Azzun Atma South
3 Palestinians are leaving now holding their documents, they put them in their pockets. They join their friends who are sitting under a tree on the other side of the road. 2 children (aged 12?) also leave. They show their documents and cross the road. A youth with a donkey comes – the gate opens and he crosses without showing his papers. All in all traffic is very light.
There is a military jeep in the car park, there are no detained cars. There are soldiers in the look out posts and at the roadblock, there are no detainees.
We went to get to know the neighbours of Tapuach village – Yasuf and Iskaka villages. The new tarmac road comes to an end exactly at the entrance to Tapuach – from there on the road to the two villages is uneven. Yasuf looks sleepy and indeed a hitchhiker (an English teacher) told us that everyone had gone to sleep late last night because of the festival. According to him the residents of the village have been unable to get to their olive groves on the slopes of Tapuach since 2000. He thanks us for our interest and our concern (he called us a human rights organisation). The olive harvest is in another month and the yield is not very good.
10:50 a.m. We returned to Za'atra roadblock
There is heavy traffic of cars. There are no hold ups.
The position of the soldiers at the entrance to Nablus has changed. They are now stationed in a parallel line to the soldiers at the exit roadblock. There are 2 entrance lanes – one for Palestinians, free, the second one is for Israeli vehicles and here there is an inspection of ID cards. At the exit from Nablus there is one lane, there are no hold ups, documents are quickly inspected approximately every 10 vehicles.
We entered the village, the barrier was open. There is a Border Police jeep with 3 soldiers who inspect documents and hold up all those entering and leaving. A small lorry (loaded up with empty cartons) is at the exit from the village, a taxi and a private car want to enter.
The taxi and the lorry are released.
A pedestrian is inspected, both her handbag and her shopping bag are inspected (it is really off putting to see it! In the sun, beside the main road, the behaviour towards her is so unreasonable). They wait for permission over the radio and, five minutes later, she crosses.
So it continues – every vehicle entering or leaving the village is inspected and when there aren't any the Border Policeman goes on to the main road and stops any Palestinian vehicle driving on Road 55.
Another jeep arrives, the inspections continue.
We waited until the car, which had been held up for a long time, is released and this happened after 40 minutes.
We went to see if the northern roadblock is staffed, but the village is so busy and full of life – children skipping, everyone eating out (we had forgotten that it is possible) that we simply drove round the village and resumed our journey – without asking directions for the northern roadblock.
Apart from ours, there are no vehicles.
Closed: as expected.
In a nearby field people are working: picking olives, spraying.