Beit Iba, Wed 17.10.07, Afternoon
Beit Iba 16:00
We approach the checkpoint and next to the quarry there is a red sign forbidding Israelis to enter the Palestinian area, even though the area is still not area A (in order to allow putting the sign there, they just wiped out the "A").
At the entrance to Nablus there were 12 cars, at the exit, 6. No crowding. The car inspection was done while comparing the ID number with a page the soldier was holding. We went to the pedestrian inspection area. A new roof was set up over people entering Nablus. A cement floor. Next to it, an inspection booth and another booth for a private more thorough inspection.
Two male detainees and one female waiting in the detention shed. Waiting for the police to come and check them. And the police do come. An Israeli Palestinian from Shfaram came to the checkpoint to take his daughter from Nablus where she was visiting her grandmother. The woman, a young woman from Shfaram with her baby, was detained because the visit did not have a prior permission. Entrance is permitted, but exit is a problem. The police understood the issue and immediately released them on their way. The other detainee said that he was also detained yesterday and the day before yesterday, and he doesn't know why. The DCO representative – staff Sargeant Yonaton – asks the soldier to take the ID for inspection and find out why they are detaining him every day, so this can be prevented. We ask him if he is confiscating the ID, and he is upset, "What do you mean? it is forbidden to confiscate IDs! I am only taking the number so that they can check it and not bother him anymore."
He is released, and Yonaton will check on his computer to find out why he had been detained.
Two DCO reps, Y. and T., help as much as they can to speed things up and avoid conflicts. They take over from the soldiers doing inspection in order to allow them to go work in the Humanitarian line and the vehicles line. Two Palestinians are needing inspection – Yonaton tells Tomer to check their documents on the phone, but he doesn't put them in the detention shed but allows them to wait next to him. Within 10 minutes they continue on their way. The checkpoint commander, A., (no rank) lets them speed up the lines.
The shed is empty. Only a small number of people stand between the turnstiles and the inspection booth. Y. says that things are moving better today because he opened the humanitarian line earlier than usual.
We go in the direction of our car, but stop at the line for vehicle inspection since a truck is stopped for inspection and isn't allowed through. The female soldier, from the military police who is responsible for this blocking, speaks rudely and shouts and the driver that he should return to Nablus. Another soldier explains that the driver doesn't have a license to bring in the sewing machine which is found in his car. While the driver maintains that he goes through here daily. While we are wondering whether or not to call Y. to help, and here he is already! He tries to to get the stubborn police officer to change her mind about letting the man through. Meanwhile, the arguments continue and the line at the exit from Nablus increases (it doesn't occur to her to let the man with his car pull over to the side and allow the rest of the line to progress). Y. opens the side door of the car and asks her to look inside. She gets up on the fence, weapon drawn, and claims that she can't see. Y. patiently, as characteristic of him, brings her a flashlight and asks her to get down from the fence and look inside with him. He puts his hand inside the sewing machine in order to show her that there are no explosives inside, but still doesn't convince her. Until he gets a bright idea – to bring the dog who wanders around there to help. And, with the agreement of the driver, the dog gets into the car and checks it properly. Her claims were silenced by the testimony of the dog. would that there were more people like Y…
17:00 – We left Beit Iba.