'Awarta, Huwwara, Mon 5.1.09, Morning

Rina T., Miriam S. (reporting)

Translator:  Charles K.

7:08  Zeita is closed off.

7:15   Za'tara:

30 cars at the entry; traffic exiting flows through two lanes.

Cadets manning the checkpoint.  We approach the entry checkpoint, 2nd Lt. Y., the checkpoint commander, appears, and asks us to move to the marked area.  After a pointless argument about the validity of the order he declares that he'll do everything possible to free up the line, we move back and he does, in fact, free it quickly.  A bus stops at the entrance and the passengers have to get off.  The explanation is that the number of ID cards is different than the number of passengers.

25 vehicles at the exit from Nablus.

7:30  Huwwara:

The checkpoint is almost empty.  As we approach the checkpoint commander arrives with the DCO representative and explain the "sterileinfo-icon area" instructions, the order of the brigade commander, Itzik Bar, dated 30.12.08.  The order is accompanied by photographs of the checkpoint and descriptions of the areas that are off limits.  We moved over to the entry lane, from which we could see pretty well what was going on. 
Taxi drivers sneak in on the other side of the revolving gate to try and "hunt" passengers, afraid of being caught.

8:00  About 15 people at the checkpoint; it's quiet.  The vehicle lanes are also open, residents of Nablus need a permit, others go through by simply showing their ID card.

The dismantling of the old checkpoint is well underway, and you can see all the way to Nablus and its buildings.

A., one of the checkpoint kids, and M., an unemployed carter, describe for us the history of the carters' guild, and how some of the carters became very rich over the years.  Two of them, who were said to have built magnificent private homes from the money they made transporting goods, seemed to be scratching the earth in search of "lost treasure."

The bored checkpoint commander and DCO representative also come over to pass the time with us, a pastoral scene in the warm sun.  In addition to the coffee seller, there's also M., who sells beigeleh's, who tells us about a loud argument he had with the checkpoint commander, who threatened to turn him over to the Border Police so they could "take care of him."

9:45  Beit Furik

The checkpoint is empty, random, lazy inspections of cars exiting.  A dog with prominent teats carries a tray with food away from the checkpoint, over to her pups.  The surrealistic German inscription on the concrete block exemplifies the existential absurdity of this reality.

10:00 Awarta

A long line of cars, partially hidden by the curve in the road, which makes it hard to count them.  ID's checked quickly.  We're chased away from our observation point nearby, we're not allowed to turn right toward Huwwara; as the sign says, only VIP's are allowed to drive on this short stretch of road.  Settlers are cutting down trees for themselves in the adjoining grove of pines - to whom does the grove belong?

11:00  We returned to Huwwara; the beigeleh seller is still there.

11:10  A group of soldiers in the open area before of a barrier of stones.