'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 27.11.08, Morning

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Shoshi B., Rachel A-T. (reporting)

Translator:  Charles K.

6:30  No police at Shomron Gate.

Marda is open and the entrance to Zeita is blocked as usual by piles of earth.

6:45  Za'tara -
No cars at all from the north.  From the parking lot you can't see the end of the line of cars coming from Nablus.  The humanitarian lane and one other lane are open.  It looks as if everyone is going through without being checked. 

6:50  The commander orders another lane opened.  Every ten cars, more or less, the soldiers take a taxi's documents for inspection and make it wait off to the side and allow other cars to get past.  After about 3-5 minutes the driver is called over to pick them up.

On our way to Nablus we see that the line has almost disappeared - only 3-4 cars left.

7:15  An army command-car is parked opposite the entrance to Beita, and there's much military vehicle traffic in Huwwara.

7:20  Huwwara -
About 50 people waiting for inspection, that proceeds very slowly.  A female MP announces that she's bored.  Two lanes open, in addition to the humanitarian lane.  There's an x-ray machine.

8:00  Awarta -
Two trucks without a permit to enter Nablus wait for other trucks to transfer their loads back-to-back.  Much activity by heavy equipment on the road to the checkpoint area.  Palestinians are laying a water pipe to the villages from a well near Nablus.  The army is enlarging or redoing the booth near the road - the Madison route.  Maybe to better supervise traffic on the road.

8:10  Beit Furik -
There's no line of cars at all, and the Palestinians say that "today the checkpoint's good."  The soldiers don't even chase us away.  One of the soldiers tells us that he doesn't understand why, even though the checkpoint has been here for years, "the Palestinians still don't understand they're not allowed to drive on the Madison Route."  We tried to explain the difficulties that prohibition causes the Palestinians, and the significance of the restriction from the human rights point of view, but it didn't seem as if we were understood.

9:00  Back to Huwwara -
The parking lot is full, crowded, and the market on the edges is also already operating.  Palestinians complain there's no water in the faucets.  We spoke to the checkpoint commander, who told us that it's already being taken care of.