'Awarta, Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Jit, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 14.1.10, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
The almond trees and the anemones have blossomed early and everyone is waiting for the rains.
7:00 a.m. Sha'ar Shomron eastward is open and there is a build up of vehicles in the direction of the entrance into Israel.
The entrance to Marda is open; the pedestrian paths at the barrier to Zeita are getting deeper. Soon the bulldozer will be back.
A soldier guards the menorah at the roundabout. There is no queue at the roadblock. In the car park a dog handler circles a Palestinian vehicle.
A Border Police jeep is parked opposite the entrance to Beita. Two Border Police jeeps patrol slowly around the town.
The soldiers appear to have deserted the roadblock. Who is stopping the settlers from pouring into Joseph's Tomb?
There are no cars.
The road is now finished. We try to make out the new geography but the roadblock commander does not permit us to get close.
There is an improved check post at the entrance to the abandoned car park and a Border Control policeman tries to stop us from parking there. According to him it is an area designated for inspections of Israeli Arab cars entering Nablus. I pointed out to him that I was parked legally on blue and white lines and went on my way.
The renovations include one lane for entering the town which can be closed by a yellow iron barrier. A wide traffic island separates the entrance and the exit lanes. There are (still) again no check posts in the middle of the road. Those leaving Nablus can cross freely. On the far side of the road a small area has been built beside which there are two improvised check points. Soldiers direct taxis to the side to check documents so that they do not obstruct the traffic. During the whole time we were at the roadblock there was not much traffic and no queues built up. There was neither dog handler nor anyone from the DCO. There are also no Military Police stationed here.
The cars leaving Nablus pass slowly by the check points, as if the drivers await the beckoning hand of the soldiers, but the soldiers are busy checking documents of taxi passengers and take no notice of them. They will probably get used to the new policy in a few days, until there is a new one...
There is no military activity.
There is a civilian police vehicle and a military one at the junction. A Palestinian car in front of us is stopped and the driver required to show documents (as he sits in the vehicle). We were unable to stop because the police directed us away from there. The traffic was not held up.
At Sha'ar Eliyahu we hesitated as to which route to take. We apparently appeared to be suspicious because this was the first time since we started going to the roadblocks that we were required to open the boot for inspection.