'Awarta, 'Azzun 'Atma, Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 21.10.10, Morning

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Observing and reporting: Esti W., Nava

Translator:  Charles K.

Another normal day at a “good checkpoint.”  We see very few people harvesting olives.

There are no police at the entrance to the Shomron gate, and no line at all at the exit.

06:30 Azzun Atma:  A line in the fenced corridor, not very long and not very crowded.

A sergeant from headquarters and rescue services, and an MP, maintain order and from time to time open the gate for women and children entering the village.  A Palestinian with a blue ID card leaves the village through the gate.

Many laborers waiting for rides.

A person who was inspected, and another who couldn’t be, complain of problems at the DCO; they can’t receive the permits they need [Esti has the details].  The agricultural gate is open.

The entrances to Zeita and to Marda are open.

07:10  Za’tara/Tapuach:  No line; traffic flows.  The candelabra has disappeared from Candelabra Square.  All around, upgraded emplacements covered in camouflage netting.  A military vehicle parked in the middle of the plaza.

7:20 Burin/ Yitzhar: Military vehicles parked in the checkpoint area, in the direction of Huwwara and in the direction of Yitzhar.  Are they guarding the people picking olives?

07:25  Beit Furik:  Back to the “no checkpoint” routine.  A soldier peers out at us from up in the tower.  Traffic flows with no delays

We knew that the family of our friend from Beit Furiq is picking olives today near Itamar, and we drove into the settlement to see if they were all right.  We passed through the metal gate when it opened for a vehicle to go out (after we’d removed the Machsom Watch signs, of course), and drove around the settlement.  We saw many olive trees, but no one picking.  We left without interference.

07:40  'Awarta:  Peaceful and quiet.  Few cars go through the checkpoint.

07:45  Huwwara:  From a distance we could already see the long line that had formed because of vehicle inspections.  When they were over the line disappeared and traffic flowed.

Two soldiers at the checkpoint from the Kfir unit became very agitated at our arrival.  They barely allowed us to park in the deserted parking lot.  They hurried to call the sergeant, who showed up with a Border Policeman.  The latter informed us that we’re in a closed military area, we’re forbidden to be here, asked for our ID cards (it’s the first time since I’ve been at the checkpoint that I’ve agreed to show it), threatened to call the police if we don’t stand far back, behind the position at the entrance, where it’s hard to see anything.

We told the sergeant that they shouldn’t be inspecting cars in the middle of the crossing lane, but rather in the inspection bay, and hurried away.

Burin/Yitzhar checkpoint:  The two military vehicles were gone.

From time to time, along the main roads, we see olive pickers on ladders.