'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 2.11.08, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
There are 7 cars from the west. A bus on its way to Ramallah is being inspected, the male passengers taken off, their documents checked. The women remained on board. After a few minutes the bus continues on its way.
There are 12 vehicles in the queue south.
There are 25 - 30 people at the turnstiles. 2 checkpoints are open. The entrances to Nablus are crowded, about 50 people crowd around the turnstile. However, the crossing is quick and within about 10 minutes the number of people near the turnstile has reduced.
There are people sitting at the café which is back to normal after the fire. Among those sitting there is the 'mukhtar' of the village and later the 'olive mukhtar' arrives. They tell us that the owners of the olive groves on the hill near the village, about half of the residents of the village, have been unable to harvest their olives since the intifada, for the last 10 years, because the inhabitants of the settlement Itamar do not allow them to do so. This means about 570 dunams (143 acres) of groves. We contacted Ya'akov Manor. He is aware of the problem. He claimed that he, and other Israeli factors, told the residents to bring documents proving their ownership of the groves which would enable them to take the matter to court, but this has not been done. He telephoned the 'mukhtar' again, after our approach to him, and explained again what is needed to be done. He promised to continue to deal with the matter, and is considering initiating a protest harvest.
The roadblock empties and a light flow of people again march across. There are 5 cars in the queue. A car gets to the inspection area and is held up about 4 metres behind the one in front which is still being inspected, and a soldier asks in wonder: why two? He converses lengthily with the driver and daringly decides to break the IDF rules. We did not hear the gist of the conversation.
The people at the café claim that the roadblock is very crowded between 7 - 8 a.m., and 3 - 6 p.m.
There is a small number of lorries at the exit from the village and 4 lorries at the entrance.
There are about 20 people at the turnstiles. The traffic of pedestrians to Nablus is light.
The inspection of cars leaving Nablus is thorough.
There are road works at the roadblock. We asked a soldier to tell us what is going on and he explained that they are for 'the welfare of the Palestinians', to widen the car crossing.
A young man who had been injured in a road accident a month ago, who underwent stomach surgery, and is on his way to Ramallah for a check-up is detained because he was not in possession of his I.D. card. He explained that it was left at the hospital as a deposit because he had no money to pay for treatment. He showed medical documents. We contacted the humanitarian centre to ask them to intervene. We also wanted to involve A., the DCO representative who, we knew, was at the roadblock but we could not find him and our repeated requests to the soldiers to call him went unanswered. They were too concerned that we should not cross the white line (which has meanwhile become a blue line) to do it in case we endanger the safety of the country. We finally found A., with the help of Zaharan.
A man who has been advised that he needs surgery on his hand at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, after being operated on at the hospital in Ramallah, approached us. He has been unable to obtain a permit to go to Jerusalem.
A., from the DCO, went over to the detainee where he was joined by the roadblock commander; we heard them questioning him about his family.
We left the roadblock.