Beit Iba, Tue 30.10.07, Morning
A hard morning at Beit Iba
07:15-09:10 - Many vehicles are waiting to get into Nablus. A taxi driver approaches us, and tells us he lives in Sebastia. After the closing of the notorious road no. 60 he and his friends used to drive to Beit Iba on side roads. The municipality of Sebastiya paved a road, paid for by the inhabitants. Now the army demolished the road and blocked the main entrance with pit-holes and sand-mounds. We checked our map: to reach Beit Iba they must go north to Burqa, Bezariya, Anabta and back south to Beit Iba. According to him, it's about 25 km instead of 1.5 km. We suggested that the municipality contact the Association for Human Rights, if anybody can think of something, please let us know.
At the pedestrian checkpoint, a commotion such as we haven't seen for a ling time. Hundreds of people crowd the small space, the (new) soldiers are busy conducting power-wars with the Palestinians, and most of time simply stop passing people, men women and even "humanitarians". People say they've been waiting an hour or more. We timed some of them, when they did pass eventually, this was after a 2-hour wait. People were very angry, every once in a while emitting a roar of protest. We called the Humanitarian hotline five times, the DCO twice. They assured us a DCO officer is on his way. Once, the hotline receptionist heard the roar of protest. The men were standing in a mass, due to the condition of the checkpoint lines could not be formed. The checkpoint commander and the soldiers kept yelling "Irjah Lawara" (move back) - the men tried to do so, moved a meter at a time, but the commander wasn't satisfied. One of the stops lasted 20 minutes.
Some pearls of wisdom: "I'll fuck him if he doesn't move back" (pointing his rifle). "As far as I'm concerned they can go back home". "Take off your pants" (in the middle of the line!). When the soldier saw the startled look of the man he took him aside. We don't know how far down the pants went. This was "random", not because of any particular suspicion.
At last the DCO lieutenant arrived, spoke with the commander and told everybody to pass without any checking.