Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 17.12.07, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
The entrance to Marda is open, Beita is blocked by huge concrete blocks.
Za'atra Junction (Tapuach)
There are some six to eight vehicles on the road leading from Tulkarm, they are checked and passed quickly, including buses.
Throughout our stay, we were there about 20 minutes, there were between 45 - 55 vehicles of all kinds in the queue. Most of the time there were three lanes at the roadblock and the cars were inspected and passed through quickly including buses (who were requested to park for a few minutes in the car park).
In comparison, an elderly Palestinian woman of about 70 years of age, who only had a passport which had expired in 2000, was not permitted to continue on her way without a signed order from the DCO via the military H.Q. This order was not immediately forthcoming despite our efforts and the taxi driver who brought her decided to return whence he came.
There are no military vehicles on the way to Beita and no roadblock at Borin (Yitzhar) Junction. There are many heavy industrial vehicles and an army vehicle guarding them. There is massive digging and levelling work going on at the corner of the Huwwara road and the Borin/Yitzhar road.
There is a queue of about 20 - 25 people. There are no detainees. An inspection takes between 3 - 4 minutes per person in the ordinary queue; it is quicker in the queue for women and the elderly.
There is a dog which is not being used and an x-ray machine which is in use. The inspection of cars leaving is also without the use of the dog (it is only used later on). The car park is half empty.
At first there is no queue of cars and the pedestrian queue moved very quickly.
Later a flock of sheep with their shepherd appears, and another one after that, to cross the ‘Jewish road', and almost all the soldiers were riveted by the show and did not move the cars through... in this way a queue of 7 - 8 cars built up. When we left the fairly fast crossing of cars and people was renewed.
There are 6 - 7 cars at the exit from Nablus and 2 - 3 at the entrance. The cars cross quickly. We find out from a conversation that some of the Palestinians caught on the ‘Jewish road' are brought to Awarta and held there for a couple of hours as punishment.
There are a lot of people in the queue, the car park is full and crowded, and a lot of taxis wait for passengers at the exit from Nablus. Pedestrians cross speedily via two queues. Two youngsters are detained as punishment because they were caught with ‘with a donkey and cart trying to steal iron'. The x-ray machine is turned off; the vehicle is used to inspect baggage in the porters' hand carts used to move the baggage of the people crossing the roadblock.
A woman comes for a second day to get back her I.D. card after an inspection at the roadblock two days ago. The commander and the DCO representative assist in finding out how, where and when. When it turns out that it is at the Awarta DCO we took her there, waited until it was returned to her, and returned her to her waiting son at Huwwara. The hard reality of the roadblock is unchanged.
The soldiers, and in particular the commander Eviatar, try to be quick, polite and helpful.
There are some 17 cars on the road from Huwwara and two lanes are functioning. On the other road there are no cars.