Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Sun 16.3.08, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
Roadblock routine - occupation - no particular incidents.
There are five cars from the west and 14 from the north.
The roadblock at Yitzhar Junction is not functioning.
We are on our way to Beit Furiq. The scenery is lovely and the blossoms are beautiful, for a moment we forget that the road is leading us to an ugly experience - to another roadblock.
There are four cars in the queue. The drivers we speak to tell us that the situation today is OK; the soldiers are well behaved. There are few people at the turnstiles; from time to time another group arrives.
The soldiers are prepared to talk to us. The commander tells us that, because of an exercise, the traffic at the roadblock will be stopped for a few minutes. We wait to see what happens.
The traffic is stopped. Soldiers draw their weapons. After 2 - 3 minutes the roadblock returns to work.
There are no lorries at the entrance to the village. There are many lorries: 12? (it is difficult to count) in the queue for the exit from the village.
There are about 20 people at the turnstiles. Many people cross via the humanitarian queue, mainly mothers carrying babies.
A man is arrested and taken to the cell. His father comes over to us. He is a lawyer; he wants to know why his son has been arrested when he has a permit to cross. We ask the commander, P., to go over to him. He does so and patiently explains to the father that his son will be checked and then released.
The traffic to Nablus is heavy but there is no crowding at the turnstile.
A Military Police lieutenant arrives at the roadblock. A Palestinian whose vehicle licence has expired wants to go to Nablus in order to renew it. The officer explains pleasantly that the vehicle cannot go to Nablus with an expired licence, he says that these are orders. This is the law. It never occurred to him to use his commonsense, or his initiative and find a way to let him go to Nablus and deal with his vehicle.
The man who was arrested is released.
We leave the roadblock. It appears that stalls have been set up in the vicinity selling vegetables. We hope that they will be permitted to stay there. We go over to the stalls. A settler passing by attacks us verbally, angrily.
10:40 a.m. Za'atra
There are six vehicles on their way south.