'Azzun, Beit Furik, Habla, Haris, Jit Junction

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Fathiya, Carol C. (reporting)

13:45, Habla agriculture gate.

Four soldiers with a jeep are controlling the crossing.  A horse pulling a cart loaded with old furniture crosses to the Palestinian side. A truck full of plants bound for the owner’s nursery on the seam line picks up a group of small boys who have already crossed to the Israeli side – apparently kids of the nurseryman. Everyone goes through quickly, since they cross daily and the soldiers know them.  As everything is quiet we stay for only about 10 minutes.

Azzun.  A jeep and some soldiers stand at the entrance.

Jit Junction.  Two weeks ago a watchtower and an enclosure were built here overlooking the road.  Now a jeep and several soldiers stand watch.

Huwwara. At the entrance, soldiers have stopped a Palestinian car and are inspecting it and questioning the occupants.

Fathiya receives a phone call. Someone with a Palestinian friend is asking whether people over the age of 55 may enter Israel without a permit.  She refers him to the District Coordination and Liaison Administration, and gives him the phone number.

Beit Furik.  Soldiers can be seen in the watchtower.

At most bus stops, where mainly young kippa-wearing teens are waiting, there is a soldier or two.

Before reaching Tapuah junction, there is a bus stop completely protected by a row of tall concrete barriers, so that you cannot see if anyone is waiting there. At the junction, a jeep is parked next to the watchtower while soldiers patrol.

In Huwwara, we hear of a terror attack in south Tel Aviv, with two dead.

We see four jeeps traveling along the main street of Huwwara, more than usual, but fewer than last week.

Two soldiers stand at the bus stop at the entrance to Ariel, while two others walk up the road toward the city.

At Haris junction, soldiers stand at all four corners of the crossroad and at the bus stops.

Throughout our tour, soldiers are everywhere, their uniforms blending but not blending into the green landscape. Their presence a reminder, if anyone needed it, that: “We are here.  We are watching.”