'Azzun, 'Isla, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah)
9:00: We entered the Palestinian territories through the Eliyahu Gate.
Nabi Elias was quiet with business as usual. We drove through 'Izbet alTabib where everyone was going about his own business also. Since we see all around us the hills covered with olive trees, we thought we would like to know a little more about other aspects of agriculture in the villages we see.. As we drove through Hirbet 'Isla, Nadim stopped the car to speak to a man next to a small plot with field crops. He was the farmer and this was his plot. It seemed to be about 1 1/2 dunam right on the edge of the village. He is growing potatoes, squash, cauliflower, and green onions. He sells his produce wherever he can – in the villages around or as far away as Qalqilya. He has some fruit trees for home consumption. Next to his plot is a long row of plastic covered hot-houses where tomatoes and cucumbers are growing. But they do not belong to him. We will continue to ask about farming in the coming weeks.
We drove through Azzun and out the main entrance. There was a large jeep parked by the entrance and four soldiers stood by, watching the road. From the main road we could see the village of Jin Saffut on the hills. There, in the middle of the usual houses covering the hill, we could see a new apartment building about 6 stories tall. We can imagine that this is for young families. These new apartment buildings can be seen in a number of villages. We drove through Funduk and on the other side we had to wait in a line of cars for a number of minutes until we could drive on. The road is being fixed and a new safety rail is being put up along the road. Opposite Yitzhar, on the hill, was a jeep and several soldiers looking towards Burin. Opposite Huwarra, in the village Hadalah, we saw another new apartment building. At Huwwara checkpoint the traffic was moving smoothly in both directions. Nadim spoke to a friend who said that the area is quiet, meanwhile. Driving down the main road of Huwwara we noticed some new shops. AM/PM has come to Huwwara! And further, on the other side is a new coffee shop, "Star and Bucks"! Next time we'll stop to see how that coffee shop is.
At Za'atra (Tapuach Junction) there was a military jeep in the center but we didn't notice any action around it. By the road coming from Nablus a police car was standing and the policeman was giving a ticket to a driver (or so it seemed to us.) Otherwise the traffic was flowing. We had noticed all along the main road (60) banners of "Habayit Hayehudi" hung along the fences. There was a jeep at the entrance of the road leading to Barkan Industrial Area. We left the territories through Shomron Gate.