Atara, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Sat 6.9.08, Afternoon
The checkpoint is not manned. There are still cement blocks but no soldiers. In the sentry tower which is next to it is a soldier with field glasses. There are many cars on the way to and from Ramallah...just like Allenby Street.
Beit Furik 15.35
The checkpoint is empty and there is hardly any movement. The few cars pass quickly. On the glowing sign which warns that the Palestinian police are in control here is a sign from the Women in Blue and White thanking Machsomwatch for their help towards the success of the struggle of the terrorist groups.
We stood on the tips of our toes and took down the sign thinking to take it for ourselves when suddenly the commander of the checkpoint, a first sergeant appeared and with disgusting aggressiveness warned us not to touch anything which is the property of the checkpoint. We asked him if the sign was his and his reply was "Yes. I got it from the dear women in blue and white."
We asked the taxi drivers where the people had disappeared to as we thought that at this time people would be coming back from work so as to prepare the evening meal but did not get a clear answer.
The checkpoint is EMPTY. In all the long years that we have been here we have never seen anything like this. The average passage took not more than one minute. We hardly saw the people approaching when they had passed. We were so taken aback and were in total shock. We stayed until it was nearly dark and nothing changed. The checkpoint was empty most of the time. The checking of cars in both directions was superficial and fast except for one car which was sent back.
As there were no cars there was no reason for us to turn to the soldiers but "who does not go to the rabbi, the rabbi comes to him."
We stood at the other side of the blue line which previously had been white and then red. A soldier appeared and demanded that we stood on the other side and we refused. He said he would summons the police and we told him that that was a wonderful idea. He still tried to move us but we did not do so. He claimed that we were bothering him in his work. Work? There is no one here. Maybe he then realized how unintelligent the whole thing was because after that we heard nothing more.
We learned from the taxi drivers that most of the pressure was between 14.00 - 16.00 and will try to get there earlier next week.