Azzun, Qalqiliya, Sun 24.2.08, Afternoon

Susan L, Yifat D (reporter) Translator: Orna B

13:00 About 20 cars in the queue towards Qalqiliya. From afar we notice that the soldiers are laying down traffic-controller strips on the road, and are changing shifts, so that the inspections stop for a few minutes and the queue lengthens. The soldiers do not let Israeli cars through. Four soldiers execute the inspections. The gun of the guarding soldier is pointed straight at the inspected, from a distance of about a meter. The soldiers examine the car bootss, and take the papers of the youths to be checked on the computer.
Since we normally pass this checkpoint in the evening, we always assumed that the long wait at the checkpoint occured mainly during the hours when people return from work. Today we realise that during a normal lunch hour the queues are even longer.
Ecumenic accompanying us tell us that the inhabitants of the Beduin encampment Ramdin ash'Shimaliya (part of it is just below the Israeli settlement Tzuffin) have been served demolition notices. A conversation with the lawyer Iam Shwata , who deals with their case confirmed that indeed such notices had been served on Wednesday. The demolition is meant to take place on Sunday (today). Iam tells us that the struggle of the inhabitants against the demolition has been going on for over a year, and that lately the Israeli authorities have renewed their attempts. The lawyer had sent a letter about this case and have not yet received an answer, and it is unusual to execute such decrees until an answer is sent back. It is worth while noticing those Beduin tents which can be observed from the turning toward Tzuffin, at the bottom of the hill.
13:25 We left the checkpoint and travelled in the direction of Azzun. The exit towards Route 55 is still blocked. The style of the blockade is interesting: earth mounds about 2 meters high, with a barbed wire installed irregularly and in a spiral over them.  Apart from the extreme ugliness, this method of blocking the road testifies to haste and stupidity.
Past Al Funduq there is an old sign which invites you to buy a villa at the Kedumim settlement for $106,000. A huge sign next to the pink house of the settlement Shvut Ami announces that 'We continue the building of Eretz Yisrael.'