'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 9.12.08, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
A cold morning, there is a festival, the traffic is relatively light on the roads and when there are no people the surroundings are more obvious, the territories have been turned into a land of barbed wire fences. There are fences along the roads, around the roadblocks; it feels like a large prison.
The traffic is light in both directions and there are no hindrances at the entrance.
Along the way the situation is normal, Beita and Marda are open and there is still a heap of earth at Zeita barring the exit and the entrance.
Za'atra (Tapuach) Junction
From the direction of Road 5 the roadblock is empty and the soldiers are unemployed, from the direction of Nablus there is only one vehicle.
The town of Huwwara is quiet because of the festival, everything is still closed.
Beit Furiq roadblock
Wonder of wonders, there are just a few soldiers, 2 DCO representatives and among them Faras himself.
Everyone enters and leaves without inspection, according to him because of the festival and the security situation. According to him the yellow barrier in the area of Beit Furiq will stay open all the time, no closing times have been arranged and the soldiers are in their position as a formality.
Each roadblock has had a tall look-out tower built overlooking the area and the soldiers are observing from within.
In fact we could not see if there was no inspection because, during the half hour that we spent there, only one car left Nablus and was really not inspected.
The soldiers are relaxed and even bored, and that's good.
The roadblock at Awarta has been moved close to the entrance and the soldiers are in the vicinity, there is a look-out tower here too, there is no traffic and, according to P., commercial vehicles will be able to enter and leave freely.
So, as we know, the new roadblock started to function yesterday. It is not obvious why the change had to be made, as far as the inhabitants are concerned things have not improved, perhaps they have a little more room. As far as the soldiers are concerned the improvement is in their security. Now there are 2 roadblocks standing side by side, one neglected and which will very soon look like a tip. According to T., the DCO representative, the old roadblock will be demolished.
There is a fair distance between the pedestrian crossing and the car crossing and the soldiers move from one to the other.
Pedestrian traffic is relatively light, those crossing are families with children and presents, all dressed up for the festival and reporting speed and efficiency at the crossing.
There are 3 queues, in two of them men are inspected as usual, there is also a humanitarian queue where the traffic is heavier, the moment a crowd of more than 10 people builds up reinforcements arrive and the residents cross quickly.
At the entrance to Nablus apart from the turnstile there is a gate open for the disabled, however, they have forgotten that in order to get to the gate the road should be flat, but we found a steep step there, we pointed it out to T., from the DCO who promised to deal with it.
We are able to stand unhindered wherever we wish.
Vehicles: those entering enter freely, the drivers still hesitate but a soldier immediately waves them through, and they drive on smoothly.
At the exit there is a long queue of vehicles, the drivers report a 15 minute wait, the x-ray machine at the side of the road checks parcels.
It should be noted that, although it is probably because of the festival, the people are mostly smiling.
Here too a tower has been built overlooking the area.
We left. At the exit from the car park we met a delegate from the Blair team who told us that they too are observing the moderation which had been announced for the festival.
The town of Huwwara has woken up and the traffic within is heavier, more vehicles on the roads and at Tapuach Junction, from the direction of Nablus, there are about 12 vehicles waiting to cross.
In the car park there are a lot of military vehicles and a car is being inspected.
At Sha'ar Shomron the traffic is flowing but in both directions roadblocks have been set up.