Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 31.1.08, Afternoon
5:40PM - 6:40PM
Did you ever want to know what Huwwara is like at 5:40PM on a very cold, already dark, Thursday winter night? That's what we set out to do.
That time of day/night can actually be very active. However it seems that, according to those Palestinians who were at the CP, the cold kept a lot of people at home. The pedestrian shack was empty. There was an occasional pedestrian either entering or leaving Nablus. The occasional pedestrian was checked on the "side" line. The Military Police were no longer in the pedestrian checking booths. There were no detainees.
There was a vehicle every few minutes entering Nablus and an occasional vehicle leaving Nablus.
One soldier who claimed he was a volunteer told us he couldn't understand what brings us out to the CPs. We told him we were concerned about the human rights of the Palestinians. He looked at us as if we had said something he didn't understand. He shook his head and said that we were coming from a place that was totally opposite from his. Despite the fact that the check point was almost empty, the "volunteer" soldier made sure we didn't go over the white line. The soldier who was checking the permits and IDs of the vehicles entering Nablus won't answer any questions. There were several soldiers hanging out in the booth that is set up to check out going vehicles.
A few taxi drivers were still in the parking lot hoping for some customers.
Beit Furik was equally desolate and the soldier there also made sure we did not pass the white line. There was no line of vehicles but an occasional vehicle either entered or left Nablus. There was also a pedestrian from time to time who would enter or leave Nablus. The soldiers would not answer questions.
A Palestinian told us the CP closes at 9PM.
There were no longer any taxis waiting at the entrance to the village of Beit Furik.
We heard from a Palestinian who lives in Nablus that today he took his family to see the snow in Shimronim. A friend who was with him was lightly wounded by a soldier who shot him in the arm.
Za'tara/Tapuach had very little traffic at 2:49PM and at 7:00PM.
At both times traffic from the south was stopped for a cursory check. Although the traffic from the west and from the north is always checked, the traffic from the south is usually allowed to pass freely. We have often been at Za'tara/Tapuach at 6 or 7PM when the traffic coming from the west has been very heavy with Palestinian workers returning to the territories after working all week in Israel. This was not the case today.
There have been concrete blocks blocking vehicle traffic at Jammayin off of Route 505 near Ariel for about the last 4 months. We spoke briefly to the taxi drivers there at 7:15PM who were waiting for workers returning from Israel who would want to go to Nablus. Although it was cold, dark and with no customers in sight, they told us they had to take advantage of every possible opportunity to make a living.
The agricultural access roads along Route 505 from the Za'tara/Tapuach Intersection east to Majdal Bani Fadil were blocked by dirt and boulders or metal gates.