'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 19.3.09, Afternoon
13.45 Sha'ar Shomron.
Many soldiers and border police standing outside their cars. There seems to be a lot of preparations maybe because of the visit of someone from the Foreign Ministry. The "follow-up" of this visit is obvious in the long traffic jams at Za'tara. Huwwara and Awarta.
14.05 Kif Alharis. The gate is open but we did not see soldiers at the post.
14.07 Half between the south west gate and the northern gate of Marda which were open and on both sides of road 5 armed soldiers stand at the eastern side, close to the fence of Marda. A tractor is doing some work. When we came back we saw that a big opening had been made in the fence. Attention should be paid to this to see if it remains so.
The road is blocked as usual. On the hills, west of the settlement of Tapuach, a large open space is seen and it is would be interesting to know for what reason. A photo is attached.
Many coloured flags waving above the checkpoint. From the west. 6 cars wait with one checking post and from the north 64! with two checking posts. A photo of the end of the line is attached. We phoned the centre and A. said that there was a full check because of security reasons starting from 12.30.
By chance we knew of the visit which was taking place at that time. In the middle of giving us this information she said that information had just been received that the checking would end at that moment.
14.25 Awarta. Very crowded with trucks and we cannot see the end of the line. A photo is attached.
14.30 Beit Furik. Soldiers and one truck waiting to be checked.
14.32 A Hummer waits at the hitching spot near Yitamar.
From where we stood at the designated spot we could not see and it took time before we realised that there were two detainees. One of them because of the ID number and the other a youth who sells coffee whom we know.
The drivers tell us that there is much pressure at Za'tara and say that for the past two nights soldiers have been looked for wanted men and 70 Palestinians have been taken from their homes. From the representative of the army we heard that these tough measures have been taken because of the incident in the Jordan valley on Sunday.
Underneath the shed are two sealed rooms which are manned and 3 lines of those waiting. In the humanitarian line the wait is not so long. When we managed to find the DCO representative, N. the coffee seller was freed.
At the car entrance to Nablus cars were checked and then were not. The drivers did not know whether to stand or to drive on and so a line was sometimes formed because it was not clear if they had to wait for a sign to come forward or not. Cars leaving Nablus - 5 soldiers- sometimes all were checked at one time and sometimes at two separate checking posts. Sometimes they were sent to the line of cars entering Nablus. Much pressure. We could not see the end of the line and when we checked the time a taxi was checked for 6 minutes and cars for about 5. There is an x-ray machine for packages.
16.40 Za'tara. 13 cars from the north and two checking posts. 18 cars wait to be checked from the west. One checking post.