'Awarta, Habla, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 14.6.10, Afternoon

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Maki S., Riva B. (Chana S. translating)



15.10 Shomron gate.


15.30 Zita.   ‘No checkpoint’. We got out to greet motorists.   A pleasure to see the barrier of stones has been totally removed.   Of course the metal gate still stands.   Drivers say it is open 24 hours.

15.40 Zatra junction.   Heavy traffic flowing.   Soldiers are busy talking to each other and some drivers wait for the familiar hand movement, not being used to pass through without checking.

16.10 Nablus D.C.O..   The shed is empty.   A taxi driver from Awarta is waiting for a family from Nablus.   According to him they entered three hours earlier and hadn’t yet come out. He reckoned there must be another ten people waiting.   People complained about the slow processing


16.15 Awarta (village). At the grocery we met Amg’ad whom we had asked to find out the council head’s decision about participation of Awarta children in the seaside kaitana in July. He said the process of getting permission and ID’s would happen soon.   We got the impression that they were indeed interested in taking part.   Maki made contact between Mag’ad and Physicians for Human Rights about heart treatment for an eight year old girl.

16.30 Awarta checkpoint.   Lots of private cars pass the checkpoint and we wonder how.   Salah of the DCO is present and arranges for a father and sick child to get on a bus to take them to the clinic in Awarta.   He explains that because an explosive device was found at Hawarra, the checkpoint there was closed and the Awarta checkpoint was open for ALL vehicles.

16.50 Huwarra checkpoint.   While driving we saw a Palestinian youth with a fairly large group of soldiers in the empty parking lot.   (We allowed ourselves to guess what was happening).   The checkpoint was empty.   Cars were sent back to the village to reach Awarta checkpoint.   The segregated road is of course closed (one ambulance is allowed to use it).   The officer in charge of closing the road in the big square is a decent fellow but when we ask him why ‘Madison route’ is not open he says that the decision on that level is not up to him. On our part, we phoned the humanitarian Moked and described the traffic jam that was caused.   They said they would clarify.   A few minutes later an instruction came through to open the road and allow all cars to pass through Awarta.   We don’t think this was because of our phone call.   After we had been in the square for over 15 minutes, a soldier warned us that we would soon hear an explosion but not to panic.   And 10 minutes later there was indeed a small explosion.   We understood from the soldiers that there were media present at the checkpoint and also photographers and intelligence information about the explosive device.   Who invited the media, and why?

17.15 Burin junction (Izhar).   A jeep with border police.   At the entrance to the southern neighbourhood of Kedumim (the other side of the road) was a military vehicle and soldiers who seemed to be checking those entering.   Unclear if this is a routine check at this hour.


17.10   Habla farmers’ gate.   Apparently open now from 17.00 to 18.30.   Few people were passing through.   When we asked, there were no particular complaints. A soldier asked if ours was paid employment and we explained we were an organization defending human rights.   Clearly he did not accept this, but when we explained further he asked ‘so is this through patriotism?’ and we said yes, and that the morality and values of our state were important to us.   He said he was ‘in shock’ and thus we ended our conversation and our watch.