Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Habla, Huwwara, Jit Junction , Madama
The gate is wide open and all seems quiet. Cars, trucks and pedestrians go back and forth. All the solidiers we see are from the Military Police, according to big labels on their uniforms.
As it seems the gate will indeed stay open until 2:15 as scheduled, we leave at 2.
While driving on, MW member calls Fathiya to say she has learned of the intention to close an important agricultural gate near Tul Karm, while three other gates in that area will be open only three times a week, rather than daily. One will be just for donkeys and tractors.
When we enter the territories, we see that all the bus stops have been fortified with concrete barriers. Not so the makeshift stands where Palestinian boys are selling citrus fruit in buckets.
Jit: A Jeep and three soldiers by the road, while others observe from the watchtower.
Madama. As we enter through the western side, we see that a gate has been placed at the entrance, before the tunnel that leads to the village. Apparently the purpose of the new gate is for the army to be able to close the village quickly from both entrances.
We observe an unclear scene that unfolds in the course of about one hour:
By the watchtower at the entrance to Beit Furik, a Jeep is parked, and soldiers have detained two Palestinian cars. Three polite soldiers approach us and ask what is our business. We tell them and ask what is happening. They say all is well and politely indicate it is not our business. We decide to move to the opposite corner to observe.
We see the soldiers questioning the two Palestinian drivers for about 10 minutes. The Jeep drives away, and we think the two will be released, but this is not the case. Then two jeeps drive by, then another jeep and another, then a command car, all taking the road to Nablus. A military ambulance passes and continues toward Nablus, then turns and pulls into the Beit Furiq entrance. The command car returns and parks in back of the ambulance; a wheelchair is taken out of the ambulance. About 10 soldiers get out of the command car. After about half an hour, the two detained cars are told to park a little farther up the road.
Two soldiers cross the road to the corner where we are parked. They say “shalom”, than speaking Arabic, ask what we are doing; Fathiya explains, they say okay and leave us.
A Jeep arrives from the direction of Nablus, apparently with the injured person the ambulance is waiting for. A Palestinian ambulance arrives, also a Shabak car and four more jeeps. After a while, the two ambulances drive away from the corner up a slight incline to another road right above the highway. A civilian car arrives (a relative of the wounded person?) The injured person is finally transferred to the Palestinian ambulance, which drives off in the direction of Nablus. All of this took about an hour. It seems the IDF was in no hurry to get the injured person to hospital.
At some point, the two detained cars were allowed to continue on their way.
There had been news reports during the day of another incident in this area. A “suspicious Palestinian” (in the words of The Jerusalem Post website) was seen on the road near Huwwara earlier Thursday. Soldiers stopped to question him and he ran toward them with a knife, according to the news report. The soldiers shot him to death.
In Huwwara on the way back, we asked about this. The Palestinians told a different story, namely: A Palestinian from Huwwara or Burin was standing near the entrance to Burin, at a distance from a settlers’ bus stop, when he was shot and killed by a soldier who was securing the bus stop.