Azun Atma, Huwwara, Awarta, Beit Furiq
Translation: Suzanne O.
The settlers have stuck posters on every wall in opposition to the renewal of the building freeze. They call for a day's general strike on 2 November.
It is an Arab festival and only a few people cross the roadblock. Quite a big group is waiting along the road for a contractor from Elkana who it appears has given everyone red hoods for the festival. On the red hoods there is white writing (a fan of Bnei Sakhnin or HaPoel Tel Aviv?). Now everyone in the settlement will know who employs the labourer in their yard.
Very light traffic in both directions.
The road to Marda is open and so are the entrances to Zeita and to Jemayn.
There are very few cars in either direction. At the 'no menorah' roundabout there are no soldiers.
The town of Huwwara is still asleep. The school children are on holiday and the shop owners are in no hurry to open.
There is military activity in both of them but no hold ups.
The town Beit Furiq has been decorated all along the road by new flags in honour of the festival. Palestinian flags fly together with yellow flags – they appear to bear the emblem of the local authority.
Beit Furiq roadblock
A soldier peeps out from the top of the tower and wonders whether to accept our visit. There is no traffic to or from Nablus.
There is no traffic at all. Two bored soldiers report that it has been like this all three days of the festival.
A dog handler is present. An orange taxi and a minibus have been held up for an inspection which took about half an hour (they were already standing outside their vehicles when we arrived and were released 25 minutes later). From time to time Border Police hold up the traffic crossing the main lane and ask for documents to be presented. For a change all the soldiers are wearing helmets and not their Kfir berets. "There are warnings", they explain.
Two soldiers come to order us not to ender the non-permitted area and stay to chat. According to them it doesn't matter if there is a queue from the roadblock to Kfar Qalil but they try not to let a queue build up in the opposite direction up to the roundabout because that causes a problem for the settlers. Not that the settlers can't wait but if a Palestinian car is beside a settler's car there is no knowing what will happen. In spite of this their colleagues stop a taxi at the entrance to the town and on the main lane and meticulously inspect the contents of its boot. A queue immediately starts to build up.
They are aware of the difference in the weight of the traffic during the festival and say that they have noticed that during the festival lorries are almost not seen at the roadblock except for those taking sheep to the slaughter.
The roadblock commander also comes over to see who we are. He has heard of MachsomWatch but has never seen the women. At least he now knows that we do not have horns and don't eat soldiers for breakfast.
Most of the soldiers have disappeared. At the entrance to the village of Huwwara a military vehicle is parked and its soldiers seem to have fallen asleep.
Just a few cars pass by in both directions. The car park is empty.