Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 9.4.08, Morning
"This is conquest, an occupation?" the 19 year old Border Policeman asked. His partner from the Golan Heights said: "We also conquered Golan. So what? We also have to return Golan? No way! Nice place. Why should we return?"
07:10 - Shomron Crossing - no checkpoint eastbound.
On the other side of Route 5, roughly facing A-Zawiya, an army tent is planted at the side of the road.
Reservists wearing hats with the legend "Emek (Jezreel Valley) Owls" are continuing to man the checkpoint.
From the west, no cars.
Northbound (Nablus), no checkpoint.
From the north, three checking stations functioning. A DCO representative is present.
Buses are directed into the parking lot. One of them was already there when we arrived.
Seven cars waiting in line.
The men from the buses raise the bottom of their jackets, empty their pockets, on the orders of the soldier distributing IDs. The same soldier is intensively searching in belongings, taking out items and asking about them. He taps some passengers on their backs and stomachs, some are required to raise their trouser legs. Passengers are interrogated as to destination, and where they are returning from. In Hebrew.
Before climbing on to the bus, the driver says to the soldier "Thank you very much."
Maybe the removal of checkpoints/obstacles includes the taking away of the concrete block positioned on the traffic island close to the checking station, but the one on the slope close to the hoarding announcing "kingdom of the animals" at the turn towards the Jordan Valley is still in position and manned.
08:07 - as we left we saw that more than 20 cars had joined the line.
08:26 Huwwara Checkpoint
Three checking stations, a working scanning machine, a dog minder not presently checking outbound vehicles and a DCO representative.
In the pedestrian line, ten people standing at the present time.
From our vantage point close to the humanitarian station, we could not see how many vehicles are waiting to exit the city.
At a distance of 15 metres from the checking position, four women descend from a taxi. The car approaches and is inspected by soldiers.
In the background cries of soldiers checking IDs: "993" shouts a military policewoman to the nearby position, "931" shouts another soldier. The printed list is only in the hands of one woman soldier.
09:20 - the dog minder moves into action to check a car loaded with suitcases (taken down on to the asphalt). Her inspection lasted ten minutes, and who knows how much time the taxi's passengers had waited to reach the checkpoint?
09:30 - we left.
09:48 Beit Furik Checkpoint
Unlike previous Wednesday mornings at this hour, there are no cars waiting.
We met our acquaintance, H., the taxi driver. According to him the checkpoint is open until 21:00. He says that two days ago people coming from Nablus arrived at 21:05 and were not passed through until they talked to the DCO.
At the checkpoint itself, two checking stations and I., the checkpoint commander joins and starts a third whenever necessary.
Cars checked alternately - one from Nablus and one from Beit Furik.
10:17 - we left.
On the way we entered Beita market. People raise complaints. A man says he is from Beit Furik and his wife from Salem and hasn't changed her address in her ID. When she comes to the checkpoint, they won't let her return to Beit Furik.
To ourselves we think of the distance he has to traverse from Beit Furik in order to get to work in Beita market when Madison road is closed to Palestinians.
10:50 - Za'tara: now 14 cars and a bus are waiting in the parking lot.
11:12 - Shomron Crossing eastbound has begun to function and is manned by crossing personnel and Border Police.