Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), יום ה' 15.5.08, בוקר
Translation: Suzanne O.
In spite of Bush's visit the roadblocks seem to be working as usual and there is no alert.
There is no police roadblock.
Marda - the road is open, Zeita is as usual, concrete bocks bar the entrance.
A car loaded with machine oil is parked in the car park awaiting inspection by a dog handler. The driver and his friend stand by. There is a shortish queue of 15 cars from the direction of Huwwara which is moving relatively quickly. The soldiers at the roadblock are Air Force reservists. In the middle of the roadblock, behind the concrete blocks, stands a soldier with his weapon at the ready aimed downwards. After two minutes the dog handler completes her inspection and the taxi goes on its way. A minibus stops in the car park and about 20 people alight. They have come from Nablus via Huwwara, they had a long wait there too, and they are on their way to Hebron. The inspection takes 8 minutes (the dog got into the minibus and sniffed around it) and it goes on its way, but not before a soldier stands with their documents and calls out names for each one to come up and take his document, a humiliating scene which was difficult to watch.
When we arrived all three lanes were open and now the middle one has stopped. After a few minutes the middle lane opens and the right hand one stops. We find out that only two lanes are open, the third one is for ambulances and humanitarian cases.
Meanwhile from the direction of Ariel a queue of 11 cars has built up.
A military vehicle is parked at the junction but there is no roadblock and the road is open.
The car park is quite full. Pedestrians cross into Nablus. At the exit from Nablus there are 10 people standing in the normal queue and about 10 are in the humanitarian queue. We were unable to see how many cars were leaving Nablus but the traffic of cars into Nablus is very light.
There are no cars at the roadblock; the car park is also empty.
There are some 10 cars in the queue and many more cars are parked at the side of the road leaving the village, so it is difficult to know how many of them are waiting to enter Nablus. The drivers wait an hour at the roadblock; they say that this is how it has been for the past three days, because of Bush's visit. There is a short queue of pedestrians going into Nablus. At 9:05 a.m. soldiers come over to us and tell us that if we don't leave the area of the roadblock and stand at the concrete blocks, they will stop working. We move back (Rachel contacts Naomi Lalo who tells her that they are trying to get a letter of permission for our presence at the roadblock itself). As far as cars are concerned only one lane is working so cars cross one at a time in each direction - either into Nablus or out. From the direction of Nablus it appears that the cars are held up for quite a few minutes for inspection. When we leave there is a queue of some 20 cars on the road leaving the village.
The car park is completely full. We managed to count 3 - 4 cars in the inspection line at the exit from Nablus. All three lanes are working although in two of them large plastic barriers have been put up. The soldiers tells me this does not mean that the lane is closed and, indeed, when an ambulance arrives to enter Nablus he moves the barrier and lets it through.
There are some 10 cars in the queue from the direction of Huwwara. Three lanes are open. From the direction of Ariel there are some 13 cars in the queue.
Marda and Zeita
All is as it was on our way in.