Huwwara, Shomron Crossing, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 5.4.09, Afternoon
Translation: Tal H.
We cross Sha'ar Shomron Checkpoint (entry into West Bank - about 2 kilometers east of the 'green line') at 14:40. This 'gate' is wide open and we cross unimpeded. We drive east along the electrified fence the erection of which has cost a fortune, out of the pockets of Israeli tax-payers. Only vehicles with yellow (Israeli) license plates are allowed to travel this road #5, no Palestinians may use it, only after the Barkan Industrial Zone.
Absent-present are also the Arab villages and towns by the roadside. No road signs bearing their names, not always approach roads. No-name village on our right, 'incognito' village to our left.
15:00 Za'tara Tapuach Junction Checkpoint - 26.5 kilometers east of Sha'ar Shomron CP where we entered the West Bank. We are now at the heart of the West Bank. No vehicles awaiting inspection.
15:10 Huwwara Checkpoint
Posters announce a popular march planned for Gush Qatif during the Passover week.
A soldier mans the watchtower at the turnabout in front of the checkpoint, another at the concrete post determines which vehicle is authorized to enter Nablus, and which is not.
At the pedestrian checking posts, about 20 young men await inspection. The check itself lasts about a minute, crossing the metal-detector, inserting their ID, retrieving their belongings, retrieving their ID down in the designated slot far below the persons seated inside the bunker, behind the thick glass pane. A 'sterile' check as the army calls it, 'no mixing'.
A Military Policewoman in a blue baseball cap and the currently popular trouser style - 'one-third buttocks inside, two-thirds out' - checks the women coming through their special side line.
The taxi drivers from inside Nablus approach the turnstile through which people enter the city, trying to coax potential clients to use their services. Occasionally they are ordered away by the soldiers, retreat, then return.
Two soldiers in sniper posture (weapon pointed at the pedestrian line, eye playing with sights) observe the short lines from their concrete post near the detention cubicle.
A waiting line of about 15 vehicles to exit the closed city. The check is conducted in three lanes, at one of them by the trainer and her sniffer-dog. Vehicle inspection lasts about two minutes, with the by now familiar ritual - passengers disembark, driver approaches soldiers with IDs, IDs checked, passengers called to board their vehicle again while lifting sweaters, shirts, exposing belly and back.
The sniffer-dog lady trainer alternates between checking and playing with her dog. The dog joyously welcomes every inspection, sniffs and drools, today only in the trunk and underneath the cars. The car doors remain closed during the 'inspection',
we didn't see it enter the cabin. Such an inspection lasts about 4 minutes. Twice the dog also sniffed and drooled into packages passing the X-ray truck.
The table onto which these packages used to plop down after moving through the X-ray truck is by now completely ruined. The porters load the luggage in one side and hurry to catch it on the other side of the truck before it drops to the ground. At least today there's no mud.
16:10 The waiting lines remain the same, we must cut out vigil short today and leave earlier than usual.
On our way back into Israel - there are 14 cars waiting for inspection at Za'tara Tapuach Junction.
After crossing Shaar Shomron where we barely got a glance, we re-entered Israel.