'Azzun 'Atma, Habla, Huwwara, Shomron Crossing, Za'tara (Tapuah)

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Karin Lindner, Shoshi Inbar (photographer and reporter)

Agricultural Gate Habla – the Juncture Region. On road no. 55, a few hundred meters from the "green line" one turns to the right (southwards) on a dirtroad which leads to the Habla CP, where Palestinians from Habla and Qalqilya, whose lands are situated in the juncture region, or who work at plant nurseries on the two sides of the road, pass. As the gate which is open three times a day is "agricultural" the Palestinians, who are being checked on their way back to their homes, are not allowed to take with them anything which is not agricultural products' even a plastic bag with a few used clothes remains cast away near the gate.


A military Hummer and its crew arrive. The gate is opened on time. Two people are waiting in the shed.

One of them tells us that this morning the queue was very long and the girl soldier at the checking post worked very slowly. A military policeman collected all the papers of those who were on the spot and told all the others that they couldn't pass. His 16 year old son received his ID card 5 days ago and works at a plant nursery. A few days ago he found a pair of shoes. At the CP he was stopped on the allegation that he had stolen the shoes of a soldier and he had to wait for the policeman to arrive. The young man didn't know at all that those were military shoes…The father of seven says: "When you are good I am Ahla (very good). When you are bad, I am worse. I have to work in order to bring food home. I will do everything to pass through the gate and reach work"/ He also tells us that although he passes there every day and everybody know him, they didn't enable him to pass a small paraffin stove which he found, and he was forced to throw it away. 


A tractor arrives, its owner parks and enters the checking post. Five minutes later he passes on in the direction of the village.


The first of those leaving the village passes. After him there is a van carrying palm trees, two women accompanies with five children. A cart driven by a horse and loaded with empty cardboard boxes for the packaging of agricultural products arrives. They are forced to wait as there is a problem with the computer (A photo is attached)


We leave the gate with a hitchhiker who wishes to get to Qalqilya.

At the Eliyahu CP (109) we stop at the parking lot and our hitchhiker goes in the direction of  the checking post. We pass the CP and wait for him to the right of the Yellow line, but the man doesn't return to the car. A security man approaches us and informs us that stopping is prohibited. We continue without the hitchhiker.

At the CP on the Samaria side there are two big new yellow arms on both sides of the road (a photo is attached) . We continues on road no. 55 eastwards.

14:20 A military hummer is opposite the entrance to Jit (a photo is attached) near the road which once led to the village of Kadoum and now reaches the entrance gate to Kedumim. We continue on road no. 55.


Jit intersection: We turn right – southwards) on road no. 60. At the turning there are two military vehicles. To the left and right of the road there are the villages Madma (???) and Bourin to which there is no access from the road. We turn right at the intersection, with road no. 60.


The village of Huwwara – lunch break. We remove badges and flags and drive to the Tapuah intersection.


Tapuah Interesection – one of the central intersections in Samaria. The intersection connects road no. 60 to road 505. It is quiet here. There are no soldiers at the posts, no checks and the traffic flows in all directions. A soldier who watches on the tower replies to out query that today no vehicle checks are performed.

On road no. 505 which leads to the valley of Jordan, military policemen stop a Palestinian lorry and check the driver's papers. We pass them and turn right in the direction of Yatma (?) on road no. 4777.

We reach the outskirts of the town of Qablan, (district of Nablus).

We stop next to an open shop and begin a conversation with a few Palestinians who sit by the side of the building. Two of them talk Hebrew and tell us that a year ago settlers from Tapuah arrived at night, burned a few cars and wrote something on the walls. Every two three nights the army arrives for a routine round, but all in all it is quite quiet. Both are waiting for work permits in Israel. Every few months they get a permit for a week to look for work in Israel, in building sites or restaurants, but it is difficult for them to find permanent work with a landlord who expects them to get an permit for a longer period (??

The most pressing issue is the water shortage. They show us that there is no water in the taps and explain that only once every few days there is water for a few hours in the pipe system.  They get an amount of water which is much smaller than the necessary amount for their existence. This is why they can grow only olive trees on their plots around the village. Whoever has money buys water bottles  and the rest fill containers and bottles during the few hours of water supply. This has gone on for ten years already.

We decide to try and meet the major and continue driving into the town on the way to Baladiye(??) The town hall is closed but one of the inhabitants calls the major's house and he asks us to wait for him. He does indeed arrive ten minutes later.

The major – Youssuf Abdul Rahman (talks English) tells us that there are 8000 inhabitants in the town. Most of the inhabitants work in the town itself in commerce and services.

There are about 200 holders of work permits in Israel, but he doesn't deal with the matter. He takes care, in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, of the many who don't work and need medical insurance from the National Insurance.

The main crops: Olive trees. In the yards of the houses apricot and fig trees were planted, and those are irrigated by the rain alone.

He tells us that the town gets water from Mekorot, but the quantity is smaller than the required minimum. They get 13.250 cubic meters and need at least 18.000/ The Palestinian Authority approached Mekorot with the request to increase the quantity but was denied it. In the settlements the amount of water per head is three times the amount that Qablan gets. The town is built on hills and the high places usually don't get water if there isn't enough pressure. He is forced to distribute the water by regions, so that each time another quarter gets water, and this for only a few hours.


Back to the Tapuah intersection. Now it is calm here. No stopping of vehicles.

At the Marda intersection there are many vehicles waiting for the Palestinians who return from work.

At the entrance to Ariel there is a military police vehicle, a yellow cab and an Israeli vehicle. We didn't return to check what the matter was.


Samaria Pass. There are long queues of vehicles on all the lanes, but the traffic flows. We drove on the right lane of the Palestinians, in order to see with our own eyes what happens, but there were no vehicles or people in the area. A security person notices my camerainfo-icon and shows me with his hand that photographing is forbidden.


Azoun Atma. At the CP there is no queue. Whoever arrives immediately enters the checking post. A Palestinian arrives with a nylon bag with electricity wires. The military policewoman doesn't allow him to pass with his possession (to his home inside the Palestinian area, after working at the juncture region or at the settlements, with an authorization). He asks her "What must I do with this?" and she answers "throw it away". The man turns back and disappears. I photograph the man and a soldier quickly bursts forth and asks me who I am. I answer "an Israeli citizen who cares" and he – "you have no right to stand here and you mustn't take photos!" I show him that I stand behind the CP and he threatens to call a policeman who would send me away.

We leave and continue driving to Tel Avi