'Awarta, 'Azzun 'Atma, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 16.5.13, Afternoon

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Yehudit Levin (Reporting, Photographs)

Tomorrow is Nakba Day for Palestinians commemorating the conquest of their homeland by the Jews, as well as the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.  There is a large police presence everywhere.

14:30 – The settlement of Shvut Ami – An Israeli flag is flying overhead and a green curtain is fluttering in one of the windows.  

14:45 – Huwwara Checkpoint - There is a large water tank next to the watchtower and small sandbags next to the inspection areas. 

14:49 – Awarta Checkpoint – the checkpoint is closed as usual and there is no passage to or from Nablus.

14:53 -  Beit Furik Checkpoint is not manned by soldiers.

14:56 – Beit Dajan Checkpoint - Less than a year ago Palestinians were allowed to use the Madison Route as a shortcut to get to their villages.  Before that they had to bypass the Madison Route – part of which is an "Apartheid Road" and get to their village via Beit Furik.   Beit Furik is visible to the south from this checkpoint.  Above it is a range of hills that are occupied by the settlement of Itamar down to the edge of the Palestinian Jordan Valley.   These settlements are not visible from the usual route that we take along the Madison Route when driving towards Beit Furik checkpoint. 

15:15 – Huwwara Checkpoint – An armed soldier is standing in the watchtower at the hitchhikers' station at the exit of the settlement of Bracha.  There is also an armed soldier at the entrance to the settlement.    

15:25 – Za'atara Checkpoint – A woman soldier from the dog trainers' unit is practicing inspecting a Palestinian vehicle with the dog in the parking lot.  The passengers are familiar with the routine and stand aside and watch while the dog contaminates their car and belongings.  There are posters at the hitchhikers' stations put there by the settlers.  

15:50 – Azzum Atma Checkpoint – Workers are returning after a week of work in Israel.  There is no waiting line and people pass through quickly.

There are not any cutbacks on road construction here, and a new road that will offer easy access to the new settlements is under construction.