Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 20.12.07, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
It is a festival for the Palestinians and also a celebration for the soldiers of the Givati Brigade - today is their last day at the roadblock.
There is a Border Police roadblock at Sha'ar Shomron.
The entrances to Marda and Zeita are bare of people and cars. They are still blocked.
A military vehicle is parked beside the solitary house.
There are five cars from the west and few cars from the direction of Huwwara; they pass through quickly.
The rigid roadblock command is not prepared to give us details and the cold sends us on.
The town is still empty, not a soul in the streets.
7:05 a.m. At the Borin/Yitzhar roadblocks there are no inspections.
Huwwara roadblock is almost empty, few cars or people: a combination of the festival and the weather.
There is no one in either the cell or the detainees' shed.
A large group of sergeants and young officers crowd around. These are the Golani commanders who are taking over the roadblock from today.
According to the company commander they have given the soldiers a two week preparation period including an attempt to explain to them the difference between the work they have been doing up to now in Gaza and what they can expect here at the roadblock. We talked about our place at the roadblocks in general and about the white line in particular, according to him he knows that we are there to help.
The roadblock is deserted. There are three unemployed soldiers.
The car park is empty, even the tea vendor is not present.
Very few people going into the town. The roadblock commander is shocked at the fact that we crossed the white line and instructs the taxi, which had begun the inspection of its passengers, to collect its passengers and drive to the rear. It has to wait there until we, too, retreat.
According to them these are their orders and the law does not interest them.
The few cars carrying passengers to the roadblock risk getting close to the roadblock to set them down, it appears that the cold and the rain have overcome their fear of the arbitrary behaviour of the soldiers.
Back at Huwwara
A queue of pedestrians is beginning to build up. An additional soldier is sent to assist at the humanitarian lane. Women and children are sent with their baggage to the x-ray machine and they drag it along in the rain.
The dog soils the cars with mud but we are promised that the dog handler will wipe down the seats after the inspection.
The cold is bone chilling and light rain falls constantly.
The Golani commanders continue with their changeover. They look into every aspect of the inspection process but try not to cause hold-ups.
9:00 a.m. There is no activity at the Borin/Yitzhar Junction.
The town is starting to wake up but most of the shops are closed.
There are six cars in the queue. The area is full of female and male soldiers of the Engineering Corps who are collecting up the rubbish. We tried to find out the reason for the clean up and were told that it is routine IDF cleaning.