Beit Iba, Wed 28.11.07, Morning
There are physical hazards as a result of the building.
A determined commander prevents a violent episode on the part of the soldiers.
A DCO representative solves a humanitarian problem.
People tell of the heavy price that many families pay because of the occupation.
8.40 – 9.45 Beit Iba.
The building which was used by the soldiers for checking has been blown up and skeletons pieces of iron and cement blocks are all over the show. These are gathered by the workers in wheelbarrows and taken away. Through all this those coming from Nablus have to make their way. Because in the morning there are few feeling leaving Nablus it works out but what happens when all the students come home for the weekend? A car arrives from Nablus without a permit. The driver says he works for an American humanitarian organization and is on his way to Tulkarm. The DCO representative helps him to get through. It is to be noted that in the last days we always find someone from the DCO at the checkpoint and often he is of great help.
Suddenly there arises a dispute between two soldiers and a driver which almost erupts into blows. They go to the commander while the soldiers angrily push and use their guns against the driver. They say that he touched/pushed them. The commander of the checkpoint, a staff sergeant, acts calmly and uses his discretion. He is determined to calm the situation, scolds the soldiers and tells them not to approach the taxi drivers without his permission. After a few minutes they again try to heat the atmosphere bringing the driver and complaining that he laughed at them. The commander stands up to all his soldiers including his sergeant. They are trying to incite to violence but he is determined and once again calms the situation.
A detainee who the commander says is wanted and who was there when we left. We took his phone number but this evening still the number is cut off.
The checking of cars is slow but because for the past months so few cars come through because they cannot get permits it does not make much difference.
At the kiosk we met two young men who shows us bruises caused by the soldiers. Others tell of a family member who was killed. One says he sat 4 years in jail. There is hardly a family who has not been affected.