'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 8.12.08, Afternoon
14.00 Crossroads of Za'tara.
Little movement. 11 cars in either direction and checking is swift.
The new checkpoint is working. Because of the holiday there are few people. 30 people at the checkpoint and the parking lot is also not full. Pedestrians sometimes get confused and try to enter Nablus the old way. Next to the checkpoint is a new sentry tower which watches over the entire area. For the holiday of the Sacrifice many families are crossing and the pressure on the fast lane is greater than usual.
The military police have microphones at the checking area and they enjoy using them especially to call people to go backwards and come forward one at a time. The car lane is completey cut off. Next to this lane is an x-ray machine which checks parcels. Pedestrians have their parcels checked by hand.
14.30 Foreign journalist and photographers are at the checkpoint. It seems that in honour of the opening the army spokesman is holding a tour and explanations for these people. A large group of soldiers who are from this department come and try to keep the honoured visitors close to them. The representatives of the Shomron brigade who are in charge of the checkpoint also arrive.
15.10 Beit Furik.
"The scenes of the last days"...pedestrians and cars are not checked at all and the checkpoint is open. The soldiers are still there so as to direct the Palestinians who have not yet come to grips with the new realities. They explain that next to the crossroads a watch tower will be built where soldiers will be at night. SO anyone who has to get through after 24 (this is the time when the passage at the road leaving Nablus and Beit Furik will be closed) will be able to ask the soldiers to open the gate.
The checkpoint has been moved and is now next to the road. Only trucks and private cars which have special licenses can go in or out. On Friday and Saturday because of the progroms of the settlers next to Huwwara everyone was allowed to pass here and that is why many private cars still arrive. But the laws have returned to what they were and many have to go back to where they have come from.
16.00 Huwwara. The checkpoint is nearly empty of cars and pedestrians.