Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 2.6.08, Morning
Marda is open, Zeita closed - coming and going.
No cars waiting from the direction of Tulkarm (reservists manning).
At the main checkpoint (reservists and conscripts) when we arrived, there was a line of 25 vehicles. When we left, 25 minutes later, there were 63 vehicles in line.
Two lanes working plus a "humanitarian" line also serving for passage of cars with Israeli plates. A bus is directed to the parking lot - checking time 11 minutes, other vehicles between one and two minutes.
No active checkpoint at Burin-Yitzhar coming or going.
07:55 Beit Furik
At any given moment while we are there, 8-13 cars.
People pass quickly, cars are checked slowly; one lane serves both directions. Waiting time per vehicle entering Nablus 20-35 minutes. The checkpoint commander is not interested in talking to us.
The tea house is thriving. An additional car seat has been added, and the mint is flourishing.
We saw a truck, with crane, with half-crushed used cars on it. Reason: during the last two days, the Palestinian Authority has begun to confiscate cars that have not received license plates from the Authority.
The same has been done to agricultural machinery. All these cars and work tools are being taken for scrap. Owners have received minuscule compensation, around a quarter of the actual value, which does not allow the purchase of replacement vehicles. These vehicles were, so our sources claim, Israeli vehicles taken off the road in Israel (or stolen),. They, and us, guess that the initiative is in fact that of the "Israeli Authority..."
A dog is being used for some of the checks.
There are four to six vehicles in each direction, being inspected quickly, and when there are more vehicles in any direction, and none in the other, the soldiers immediately open another lane in that direction. We encountered a car with five lawyers who claimed that they waited close to half an hour in Huwwara, and then decided to try their luck at Awarta. Here they were not allowed to pass, because they did not have the appropriate documents, and they had to return to Huwwara.
One detainee who, when we arrived, had been waiting 45 minutes. He contends that he is detained every day. He appears on a Shabak list, was released 30 minutes after our arrival.
Three lanes functioning plus one for the elderly and women. In the latter, transit is fast. At the gate the passage is usually 1-2 minutes per person, but there is no x-ray machine - it is being repaired - and so people coming out of Nablus with packages are compelled to open them and spread out the contents. This slows the process...
Passage of cars to Nablus is fast, from Nablus slower - 4-7 minutes per vehicle. While we were there, 4-6 were waiting at any given moment, in other words 15-20 minutes wait.
Micky tried to assist an old man who was walking with difficulty by recruiting (for a fee) a taxi to take him the desired distance. The Palestinian driver refused, and so with difficulty she persuaded a UN driver to help.
The checkpoint commander's version:
In conversation with the commander (his initiative), he responded to reservations about whether the youth who was shot two weeks ago did in fact have explosive charges: a. the IDF has stopped blowing up houses of families of those caught in the act. This was to receive confirmation later. b. the boy's body was not removed immediately, because a robot had been summoned to deal with charges, and only after its action and the total removal of explosives was it possible to evacuate the body; that process took, in his estimate, three hours. c. because of the long lines that immediately materialised, since the checkpoint could not be used until the explosives were dealt with, all the waiting people were sent to Awarta.
Nine or ten vehicles, two lanes, no cars from the direction of Tulkarm.
We did not see detainees at Shomron Crossing, in either direction. The guests photographed the sign defining, in the faulty language of the Occupation, who is a Palestinian.