Awarta, Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 13.3.08, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
It is open from Tel Aviv to Ariel but about 200 metres away there is a police roadblock set up to survey travellers.
Marda is open and concrete blocks bar Zeita.
Three lanes are open and there is a one for ambulances and UN vehicles. In spite of the number of lanes we counted 76 vehicles in the queue. When we reached Huwwara we came across a large group of teachers who needed vehicles to take them to schools in the various villages; one of the drivers approached us with a request that we complain about the long queue. The teachers should be in their classrooms at 8:00 a.m., but at best they will not get there until 9:00 a.m. We telephoned the humanitarian centre and they promised to deal with the problem.
The entrance to Beita is guarded by a Border Police vehicle.
Borin/Yitzhar is open.
A bus is emptied of its passengers and only 10 minutes later, when the DCO representative arrives, were the passengers allowed to get back on board and for the bus to continue on its way. Apart from this incident everything seems to be quiet.
There is no back-to-back. Three or four people stand around waiting for work. One of them told us that by the end of the day he might earn 20 shekels. It is quite heart breaking. They would be very pleased to receive parcels of second hand clothing.
The soldiers are very strict about security but there is no queue because there is almost no traffic.
The surrounding hills are full of seasonal wild flowers: anemones, clover and mustard. In contrast, the situation of the residents is sombre. A soldier with the rank of sergeant approached us and demanded rudely that we move back a metre or he will close the roadblock for an hour. Beit Furiq is Beit Furiq; no matter which regiment serves at this roadblock the soldiers become vile, offensive and, sometimes, crazy. When we reached the roadblock there were some 12 vehicles in the queue. When we left there were already 20 vehicles. In conversation with the residents we found out that the situation had been much worse previously. Sometimes the crossing from Nablus to Beit Furiq takes two and a half hours. There were also stories of abuse on the part of the soldiers.
On the road linking Huwwara with Beita there are two Border Police vehicles, opposite the entrance to Beita, with the policemen manning a machine gun at the ready, i.e.: with their fingers on the trigger.
The number of vehicles is now over 80. We called the humanitarian centre for the third time. She promised to deal with the problem.
We left the territories with the feeling that nothing good is about to happen today. In fact we were quite depressed and I personally feel quite hopeless.