Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 29.4.08, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
If there's such a thing as an ordinary day under occupation, then this is one of those days, lots of activity at the CP's, but the traffic moves freely, people go on their way, perhaps it's the wonderful weather that makes things go relatively calmly.
There's no CP at the entry to the occupied territories; at the exit to Israel a line of automobiles moving without delay.
At the entrance to Ariel the usual police presence allows vehicles from Ariel to leave; they stop traffic on Route 5 and reopen it a few minutes later.
The CP at the entrance to Zeita is open and there there's no crowd around the exit.
8:00 - Za'tara (Tapuach) intersection -
No one coming from Route 5 is waiting at the CP, and the soldiers are relaxed.
About 32 automobiles on line coming from Nablus, two lanes open, no vehicles detained.
8:15 - Beit Furik CP.
8 automobiles waiting to enter Nablus. The drivers say that they have to wait about 15 minutes. We come closer to the CP; the soldiers pay no attention to us - they're busy moving the vehicles through. Two lanes open. No line from the direction of Nablus, and after a quarter of an hour passes, no cars are waiting any more. A car arrives, comes closer, the soldier motions it to draw near, he only checks documents and lets it pass through.
Many pedestrians, but two lanes are open and people pass through quickly.
A resident of Beit Furik approaches us for help. He's been working in Israel for 10 years and suddenly, a month ago, his permit was taken away, because of a problem that arose with his ID number. We took down his details, and will try to help.
8:45 Huwwara CP -
The parking lot is crowded, it turns out that life and its demands are more powerful than anything else, and despite past battles against the peddlers, there's a real outdoor market in the parking lot. Candy, rolls, soft drinks, hot food, hot beverages, plants.
But the drivers don't have much business, the CP is empty, only a few people leaving Nablus on foot, but there's more traffic entering. Maybe in the afternoon, when those who went it will come back out, the drivers will have work.
The soldiers are very relaxed and that has a major effect on how things are going. Two regular lanes are open, as well as a humanitarian lane.
Vehicles - few vehicles exiting; occasionally a car arrives to enter Nablus and passes through immediately. The vehicle CP is manned all the time.
9:05 - About 20 people are waiting to exit Nablus; all the lanes are open.
A driver of a milk truck asks us to help him get through; he goes through every day, but today they're not letting him, he has no permit. We talk to H. from the DCO, and after checking it turns out that his entry permit expired yesterday. Nothing can be done.
A car arrives at the CP, an Israeli license plate, the woman driver is turned back, with all due respect.
Three buses carrying schoolgirls on a trip arrive to enter Nablus, and are passed through without difficulty.
9:45 We left, back to the Za'tara intersection, where things are still the same, passing through very slowly and about 35 cars on line.
We stopped in the parking lot and went over to the CP, reservists on duty, the commander approaches us, we asked about the delays, and told him that now, as well as when we were here in the morning, more than 30 cars were waiting. How do you know, he asked. We counted, we told him. His reply - that's how the CP operates -soldiers have to eat sometimes. But he left us immediately, went over to the two open lanes and the cars started moving quickly.
We kept standing there, and then the commander came over to us and said that he appreciates our work but asked us to move back so the drivers won't see us and think that the traffic suddenly started moving because of us.
We walked away grinning.