'Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 16.12.08, Morning
Translation: Suzanne O.
There are about 12 cars queuing from the direction of Huwwara
The roadblock is indeed open. Cars enter and leave without any hold ups. Two soldiers approach us and answer our questions with obvious unwillingness, as if they were giving away important military secrets. They say that they are here to make random inspections. As we have already been told, the road from Beit Furiq is closed from midnight to 5:00 a.m. In case of emergency it is possible to telephone. According to them: the sick and mothers in labour cross with no problems.
Very few vehicles cross and, obviously, there are no pedestrians - the road is open for cars!!
We regret that the friendly little café near the car park is no longer. It appears that not every cloud has a totally silver lining - for a number of taxi drivers and a sociable café owner, there is no work.
There are two soldiers by the new roadblock which has been set up by the road, near the roadblock there is a sign: VIP on the way to the 'back to back' car park.
They absolutely do not want to answer our questions. They stop cars leaving and inspect licences.
We are trying to get used to the new roadblock. It is the pinnacle of Israeli architecture. We wonder about the two areas closed in by tall fences and big gates. They look like lock-ups (??).
When we arrive there is a very long queue by the entrance turnstiles. Everyone crowds round, but there is only one turnstile and it takes a long time to get through. For some reason they did not think that it would perhaps be worth putting in two turnstiles, seeing that they have laid out so much money on the new installation. After about 10 minutes the queue shrinks and people enter little by little.
The soldiers are concealed in their sheltered checkpoints. Those leaving cross via the lane: through the turnstile then the electronic inspection arch, beside it is a counter on which to put personal articles: belts, wallets, etc. After the arch they come to the checkpoint and present their documents to the soldier concealed within. Then there is another turnstile.
There aren't many people and the crossing is quite quick. Two lanes are functioning as well as the humanitarian lane.
A woman pushing a wheelchair comes through the entrance lane. The gate for the disabled (signposted in Hebrew and Arabic) is closed. She waits. After some 6 - 7 minutes she gives up and turns back. She tries to cross via the exit lane but between the new lane and the old road there is a gap through which the wheelchair won't go.
Meanwhile we draw the military police 1st sergeant's attention to the woman. He complies and goes.
He returns after about 6 minutes and comments that the key is held by the commander in the guard post... the woman then comes back to the open gate and, finally, goes through.
And we ask ourselves (in the hope that someone in the IDF will take notice of the question) is it not possible to hang the key to the disabled gate on a hook in the checkpoint??:!! It is so simple and would save so much distress and anger....
Apart from this, there are no particular incidents at the roadblock or on the way back.