Beit Iba, Wed 5.12.07, Morning
Trans. Judith Green
Short line in both directions. As usual, cars pass through only with a special and exceptional permit. There is complete inspection for pedestrians at the entrance and the exit, with no particular restrictions.
Three short stories:
An old village woman slowly approaches the checkpoint, she is panting looks to be uncomfortable. A woman beside her seems to be beseeching her about something. I ask for an explanation from Nadim, "What are they saying? What is the problem?"
- The old woman is afraid of Jews, Nadim says, her daughter is explaining that everyone goes through the checkpoint and there is nothing to fear.
Another step. Now they can actually see the Jews and the old woman stops, paralyzed with terror. Nadim joins in the vigorous attempts of her daughter to convince her and finally the old woman passes through.
- How did you manage to convince her? I question Nadim.
- Her daughter said to her, "Look at the pleasant Jew, would that all the Arabs were as pleasant as he!"
- And which Jews was the daughter speaking about? I ask (a bit confused).
- About me! answers Nadim.
A military policewoman checks the baggage of the pedestrians. She order a pair of merchants to remove rolls of new clothing from the plastic bags. They remove half a bag on to a bench and show the policewoman that the rest of the bag is filled only with clothing. They turn the bag over, poke it and there is no noise, but she insists that they remove more clothing. They fill up the bench. Doesn't interest her. Clothing falls into the puddles and they begin to get annoyed, which causes her to wave her finger at them, a signal that they must continue until the plastic bag is completely emptied. Now she picks up the bag in the air and shakes it thoroughly. Maybe there is still some explosive device hidden in there, who knows? Another bag of clothing, everything over again from the beginning. I pick up the telephone to the photographer. The checkpoint commander comes over to me and tells me that it isn't pleasant for the policewoman to be photographed. Not pleasant for her.
A taxi driver about 50 years old has been beseeching for several long minutes to be allowed to enter Nablus in order to repair his taxi at one of the garages, despite the fact that he doesn't have a permit to enter Nablus. He has already tried the military policewomen, the soldiers and others at the checkpoint, and now he is trying the dog trainer from the special canine unit. Rina watches this man, not so young himself, standing in awe before this girl who could have been his daughter, or even his grandaughter. He begs over and over until she turns her back on him and goes away and then one of the soldiers throws him out rudely from the area.
In the end, we succeeded in persuading the DCO representative to speak to him. I don't know how this incident ended, which wasn't so momentous to begin with. But one thing was clear: this man suffered very terrible humiliation.