Checkpoint tour at central West Bank

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Fathiya A., Ronny P., Nina S.

Everything is sad and shut, the exit from most villages to main roads is closed, in others it is supervised. A kind of on hold, or restriction of life.

We entered the West Bank through the Tzufin crossing without stopping from Eyal Checkpoint that was empty and quiet.

From Izbat Tabib cars are seen driving towards Azzun, but the entrance to Azzun from the main road is closed by two gatesinfo-icon. There is traffic but very sparse. No shops in Funduq village are open. Everywhere, the Israeli army observes the sparse activity taking place.

The checkpoint at the entrance to Nablus through Sara is manned, and soldiers inspect cars coming from Jish and Funduq and then let them pass because there is a gate, and the goings-on there are unclear. A friend, Palestinian citizen of Israel, reports that when driving to Nablus she had to go through Deir Sharaf and even there she went through a checkpoint, but at least it was possible.

Entering Nablus through the notorious Huwarra Checkpoint is totally prevented by gates, and whoever wishes to reach Nablus from Road 60 northward must go through the Awarta Checkpoint. There cars have to be inspected or monitored. There were cars in line, progress was very slow.

Beit Furiq Checkpoint is open but supervised. There is a single lane so every time several cars are allowed from one direction, the others coming from the opposite direction have to wait.

We went through Huwarra to the entrance to Beita and back. Half of the shops and eating places were closed. Mostly garages were opened, and contained cars, probably undergoing work. There are hardly any pedestrians on the road or cars, but slightly more than there were two weeks ago. The settlers travel the new bypass road that is amazing in its size, height, and power - opened for them alone.

We continued to Burin village, to visit Doha who welcomed us warmly. After eating and drinking, we went to see and visit a family - one of the few - who lives on the other side (south side) of the main road leading from Jit to Huwarra. In order to get to them, one has to cross the main road under the bridge. Our driver stopped here because of a flooding under the road and his fear to get stuck. Apparently, he wouldn’t because the area is paved but he could have run into the spikes that our ‘friends’ leave there at times, and would be very sorry, and so would his tires be.

We ascended to the family home at the end of our line. We visited there about a year ago and documented how their vehicles had been vandalized with stones and olive trees near them incinerated. Now the area is closed off. Their compound is now surrounded by a wall with a fence over it. There are two strong locked gatesinfo-icon and the windows are covered with netting. All this in order to prevent damages by thrown stones. So now the settlers place stones on the road under the bridge and throw spikes on the way, to damage the cars.

The Palestinians are living under siege, truly. We were still glad to see the trees, chickens and a handsome rooster in the yard, and people’s smiles in spite of it all.

After a conversation and explanations, we descended to our car but stopped at a house mid-way down. The settlers came there a few days ago and burnt the car standing in the yard.

We drove home tired and sad.