Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), יום ג' 13.5.08, בוקר
Translation: Suzanne O.
A particularly difficult day, there are a lot of roadblocks all the way from Shomron roadblock at the entrance to the West Bank up to Huwwara and Beit Furiq together with impossible behaviour on the part of the soldiers at Beit Furiq roadblock.
The frustration and our inability to change things make us despair.
There is a police roadblock at the entrance to the Western Bank with the policemen just glancing at those entering and there are another three of these roadblocks within a kilometre.
At the entrance to Ariel, just like every day, the police direct the traffic, the entrance to Marda is open, the entrance to Zeita is closed by a barrier.
Za'atra (Tapuach) Junction
From the west it was already clear that there are problems, about 27 cars wait in a convoy, there is only one checkpoint, from time to time a vehicle is sent to the car park for a more thorough inspection.
A transit van is being inspected, there is a suitcase in the road and the dog sniffs inside it, it is closed, the passengers' documents are returned to them and they drive on.
An additional taxi approaches for inspection and the same process is repeated.
We go across the roundabout and stop at a jam the like of which we have not seen during the four years we have been doing this route.
There are hundreds of cars from Nablus, and the queue is so long that it also blocks the road to Nablus.
We waited 20 minutes and, suddenly, an order comes from we know not where and the roadblock is opened and tens of cars cross without any inspection at all. When we ask what happened the answer is because of traffic jams.
When we left some 70 cars were still queuing to cross because, after the jam was freed up, another order was received and they returned to inspecting each car.
On the way to Za'atra Junction the road is experiencing heavy traffic, there is a roadblock at Yitzhar Junction and about 17 cars which have just crossed at Huwwara now queue here for another inspection. We decided to drive directly to Beit Furiq, a glance at the Huwwara roadblock shows that it is relatively quiet there.
Beit Furiq roadblock
Obtuseness and wickedness: this is the way the roadblock is run today.
We get out of the vehicle next to a queue of vehicles which we can't see the end of. The drivers are furious and report that they have been waiting since 6:00 a.m. Lorries full of cheese, chicks, eggs, a doctor, a taxi with an ill person and the cars are inspected one at a time. The soldiers take a break from time to time. There is only one checkpoint for cars entering and leaving. When we ask why another checkpoint is not opened there is no reaction.
We contacted the DCO, they told us that they are aware of the situation, there are problems throughout the area and, starting from Sunday, we have to contact Zaharan, he is our point of contact at the DCO.
We contacted Chana who, it turns out, is aware of the situation and has dealt with it without success but promises to try again. Meanwhile the soldiers stop inspecting and stand chatting among themselves, the fuming drivers approach the roadblock with a number of cars and at this the soldiers start to direct the traffic: they send the drivers away, empty the road and meanwhile not one vehicle crosses.
We tried to contact the brigade and, although we were told off for doing so, we were promised that they would look into why the soldiers had stopped the vehicles crossing, we were told that there are orders to carry out thorough inspections and they are aware of the problems in the area.
This contact did not help either and after the soldiers started to inspect vehicles again we left the roadblock frustrated.
There were very few pedestrians crossing and they did so quickly.
The car park is packed and the market is busy. When we ask the drivers how things are going today they reply that today is a good day.
Indeed the roadblock is relaxed the commander, R., comes over to us ‘women' asking how we are, about 20 people queue to cross in the usual procedure but fast and relaxed. This is also true for the cars from both directions.
We left meaning to return to Za'atra to find out what is going on there.
By the roundabout there are 150 women cyclists from various countries in the world, particularly for the Middle Eastern countries (there were no Israelis among them) but large groups of Lebanese, and they are on their way to Nablus. Although they formed a small traffic jam it moved on quickly.
The roadblock is still functioning.
The picture is completely different, there are about 30 cars waiting to cross from the direction of Nablus and the inspection is speedy. There is not one car from the west.