Beit Iba, Tue 4.12.07, Afternoon
3-4 cars waiting in each direction. One of the drivers tells us that as of 3 days ago they are no longer allowed to pass merchandise through this checkpoint. He now has to leave Nablus with his full truck through Awarta and he returns to Nablus with the empty truck through Beit Iba. We asked the soldiers and they qualified: yes, most merchandise no longer allowed through here, with the exception of milk, meat, and medicine.
Occasionally soldiers direct cars to the right lane of the checkpoint, where some 3 women soldiers with dogs conduct a thorough search of the car; the search lasts about 20 minutes. These searches are conducted by random sample, the checkpoint commander explains, but then immediately adds the usual mantra “and by terror alerts.” Alerts or not, the soldiers at the checkpoint keep the dog and its guides constantly busy; one search completed and another car immediately directed to be searched.
The constructions at the pedestrian crossing are almost entirely completed. All the checkpoints have been moved, but the detainee area stayed put. The result: we can no longer see the detainee area from our allowed position by the checkpoints. In order to know what’s going on there we need to go up the stairs to the left of the roadblock. We go up and see that there are no detainees at the moment. This time no one stops us as we go up the stairs, but it’s pretty obvious that in different circumstances and with different soldiers this little trip would be disallowed. And in any case, even if we are allowed to take a look at the detainee area, there is no longer a way for us to approach it and talk with detainees.
At the moment, those entering Nablus by foot are able to proceed without any checkups. On the way out from the city, however, the checkups are thorough. Every bag is inspected and young men are asked to lift their shirts.
16:40: we leave Beit Iba.