'Atara, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), יום ש' 31.1.09, בוקר
Translation: Suzanne O.
The shift took from 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The roadblock is functioning but the inspection is cursory and the traffic flows. Around the roadblock we found the remains of the stun grenade attack which was reported during the week. The soldiers tried to work out who we are, but no more than that. The 'eternal' coffee vendor treated us to a coffee which warmed us up in the freezing cold.
The petrol station at Shilo
We are used to stopping at this petrol station for our traditional 'picnic' and for other 'humanitarian' needs, which are unobtainable during the rest of the shift. This time the settlement's 'security man' appeared and with a sour face and aggressive voice tried to find out who we are. "You are absolutely forbidden to be here on Saturday", was his declaration. As we were on the verge of leaving anyway, we did not argue and went on our way.
We did not hang around because the roadblock was empty and there were only 3 cars in the queue from north to south, from the west to east there were no cars at all.
Two 'ordinary' queues are functioning and one 'humanitarian' one. There were some 40 people in the queue and the crossing took an average of 20 minutes per person. The humanitarian queue was almost empty. The entrance to Nablus via the turnstiles was shameful and humiliating. It is hard to watch frightened young children, women who find it difficult to cross with both their children and the luggage they hold, to say nothing of crossing with children's buggies. The disabled gate is firmly locked and it's not difficult to imagine what would happen in case of need. Since we were busy with explanations for our visitors we were not free to make a more accurate count of those entering and leaving the roadblock.
A few taxi drivers are held up at the roadblock, but from a distance they did not appear particularly worried and we decided not to deal with the problem.
There is nothing new about the screams of the women soldiers - their voices are not silenced and their language has not improved. Even those who did not cause the x-ray machine to 'beep' were required to turn round and raise their outer clothes. One man was required to drop his trousers; he refused, obviously, and only revealed his legs - but the request itself makes one shudder.
There is no inspection at the vehicle crossing to Nablus. There is a long queue at the southern crossing and the inspection is thorough. How can an economy be sustained in such conditions - and how many essential working hours are lost at this roadblock?
The soldiers took no interest in us, apart from asking us not to photograph them on Saturday because there are orthodox soldiers among them.
Cars cross without inspection. The soldiers came to find out who we are but then left us alone. A shepherd with a flock of sheep and goats at the side of the road is required to move the four legged ones from Madison Way, which is meant only for the lords of the country and should not be sullied by the hooves of a few Palestinian goats. How fortunate that the army has time to deal with sheep and goats.