Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 28.2.08, Morning

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Navah A., Rachel A.T. (reporting)

Translation: Rachel B.

A beautiful day. The sun is shining; the almond trees are blooming, as are the anemones; and at the checkpoint there are the perennial lines.  The Nahal soldiers and Reserve Duty soldiers are relatively polite towards us as well as towards the Palestinians, but they think that a line of 20 cars is no big deal.  There is a barbed wire barrier that was forgotten on the road and it causes 2 flat tires for a Palestinian car.

Shomron Gate: 6:20 AM

The police had not woken up yet and the checkpoint is totally open.  On our way back we noticed active police presence.

Marda: 6:35 AM

The entrance to Marda is open. The entrance to Zeita is still closed - blocked with cement blocks.

Za'tara: 6:45 AM

There are no cars approaching from the west.  The approach from the north is packed with cars.  There are three stations operating but on our way to Nablus we counted 45 cars waiting in line despite the fact that there are no special restrictions in effect.

At the Burin/Yitzhar Junction there is no checkpoint operating in either direction.

Huwwara 6:50 AM

There is a chaotic, crowded parking lot and the local market has expanded.  In addition to the coffee stalls there are now fruit stands as well. Today no one has been chased away.

The waiting area shade structure is full of people and there are additional people waiting outside, Altogether over a hundred people.  There are only two stations operating inside the checkpoint.  There is a dog handler who is carrying out a very thorough search at one of the stations.  There is also a scanner.  There are also buses going through the vehicle line, something I have not seen in a long time.

A Military Police female soldier tries to chase us away from the area of the checkpoint.  When the checkpoint commander finally arrives to talk to us she makes it a point to "rat on us," but he is not impressed. 

7:25 AM The long line has disappeared and the shade structure is almost empty.

Beit Furik: 7:45 AM

There are about 20 cars waiting and only one station is operating (serving both directions).

8:05 AM They open a second station for traffic coming out of Nablus but forget to remove the line of spikes of the road. The first car to go through, the driver evidently rushing to go through after the long wait, drives over the spikes and two tires explode.  The soldiers are very embarrassed and offer to call for help, but the damage has been done.  We left when they were still taking care of the problem and the Company Commander had arrived. Before leaving we had to remind the soldiers to keep operating the checkpoint, not just deal with the damaged car.

8:30 AM: There is an impromptu checkpoint on the "Apartheid Road" at the exit from Awarta in the direction of Huwwara.  They tell us they are looking for a certain person.  When we arrived back at Huwwara, a taxi driver approached us and told us that his ID card was taken form him at the impromptu checkpoint and he was told to go to Huwwara to retrieve it.  The checkpoint commander at Huwwara said the driver will only get his ID card back after a "reasonable amount of time" and went to tell him that.

Yitzhar-Burin Checkpoint: 9:07 AM

The checkpoint is manned in the direction of Za'tara.  We stand in the line to the surprise of an army vehicle that drives by.  We have a Palestinian man in our car (Zacharia) and he has to go through the checkpoint.  After 2 minutes we pass through without being checked,

Za'tara 9:20 AM

Again at Za'tara. There are still 20 cars in line form the north. The line is empty from the west.