'Azzun 'Atma, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 25.6.08, Morning
Translation: Tal H.
6:45 We thought it was important to visit Azzun Atme. After leaving road 5, from the entrance to the village to the checkpoint we traveled by a local cab.
Although we came at the time when people are usually seen going out to work, there was hardly any traffic at the checkpoint. Two women-soldiers and a male soldier were checking the few cars who came and went, and they explained to us how important and necessary checkpoints and the Occupation really are. Inside the air conditioned concrete structure sit the MP soldiers who inspect pedestrians and are a source of envy for the soldiers who secure them. For over an hour we saw nothing unusual at this checkpoint. The village looks neglected, dirty and poverty-stricken.
7:50 We leave.
The entrance to Marda is open. Zeita is blocked.
8:15 Za'atara-Tapuach Junction Checkpoint
Traffic is lively and flows, three checking lanes open and active. The soldiers are relatively courteous. A bus is ordered aside, IDs taken for checks. The passengers are not ordered off the bus.
To the right of the road from Za'tara/Tapuach to Huwwara stands a single, beautiful hilltop house. Every time I pass by I wonder ... who lives there, says Edna. No sooner had the words been said and we were already climbing up the path to the house itself. Thanks to Edna's fluent Arabic and the gracious hosts we enjoyed a lovely hour in a grapevine arbour, visited the house itself that was neat, well-off, accessoried. It was refreshing to see and remember that there are such houses here and left feeling things could be so good and in fact are so awful. The single house belongs to Beita village.
4 detainees in the concrete cubicle. we approach them immediately, they have been held here for three hours already. These are taxi drivers, and no sooner had we exchanged another word and we were already gruffly reprimanded by the checkpoint commander who announced we could not ask or talk with anyone.
No DCO representative is visible. Two phone calls to the DCO chief helped, and lieutenant T. approached us. To my question why he has no name tag, he said he lost it. No chance of getting a new one? It costs money... After a short and 'amusing' discussion, the detainees were released.
Few pedestrians passing both in and out of Nablus, those exiting hold their belts and wallets... everything as usual.
10:30 we leave.
Hardly any traffic at all. Perhaps because of the late hour. Drivers and the coffee corner man tells us the soldiers have really been alright. Edna encourages them to stay that way and we leave.