'Azzun, Habla, Huwwara
There was a roadblock at the entrance to ‘Azzun; people were being stopped and interrogated. All along the road soldiers conducted occasional checks – flying checkpoints - but they were not so serious as to create lines of waiting cars, at least not when we were there. Herds couldn’t return through the Habla checkpoint to the area of the plant nurseries, to the lambs that had remained there, by order of the brigade commander (so we were told).
We decided to drive toward Huwwara because of news reports about the checkpoint.
The yellow gate at the entrance is half closed; it opens and shuts intermittently. When we were there the soldiers laid a spiked barrier, blocking half the road. Cars entered freely but were sometimes delayed because only one lane was open. Exiting cars were occasionally checked and two were sent to one side; we couldn’t find out why. We stayed for about half an hour and then drove on. When we returned around 14:00 the soldiers were no longer there and it seems the cars that were stopped were all the same kind.
We continued. The empty pillbox stood in all its splendor at Jit junction/Highway 60. But down at the junction of the road to Sara and Highway 60, a military vehicle blocked the lane to Huwwara and inspected passing cars. There weren’t serious traffic jams, just minor delays. That was also the situation when we returned from Huwwara. There were soldiers at the roads up to Yizhar and to Beracha, but there was no military presence at the entrance to the other settlements (including Kedumim).
Soldiers were standing at the junction of Highway 60 and the road to Nablus, but there were no lines. There were soldiers in Huwwara when we arrived, checking cars, and a short line had formed. We saw no activity when we returned.
Huwwara checkpoint is wide open.
14:00 Habla checkpoint
The checkpoint is open; there’s no line. Everyone who arrives goes through, but the sheep and goats are running around the Habla side of the checkpoint, waiting to be let across, back to the lambs and kids, left on the Israeli side of the checkpoint in the morning, when they crossed to graze (as one of the shepherds told us). The MPs didn’t know what to do and the herd had no permit to cross. They called for instructions (that’s what the DCL told us) and the brigade commander refused to allow them through. Phone calls from the shepherds and from us didn’t help, the flock continued running around by the checkpoint gate until the checkpoint closed at 14:14 (one minute before the scheduled time, rather than remaining open a few more minutes until a solution had been found) and they weren’t able to return and suckle their lambs and kids.
Crazy, cruel and exasperating.