Beit Iba, Wed 9.1.08, Morning
No new limitations, little movement but we still saw two soldiers, stubborn of heart,
8.30 – 10.00 A man called us to come to his car. It is specially fitted out with a steering wheel fitted for a person who is paralyzed in the lower portion of the body. He said that an army bullet wounded him in the spine some years ago. Today he meant to go to the hospital in Nablus but he had forgotten the medical papers at home which would have allowed him to pass the checkpoint in his car. He had phoned his wife to bring them but then had thought that maybe his condition would be taken into consideration. We spoke to the soldiers and to the DCO but they said that this was not possible. It was a lie. We spoke to the captain of the DCO who said that he would tell the man to come to the checkpoint. We thought that the problem had been solved until it turned out that the soldiers had decided that a person was only handicapped if he had no legs at all. Again we spoke to the captain, again he spoke to the soldiers and again it looked as if all would be well. We called the man to come again but he felt insulted and refused. He lifted his shirt to show his scars and showed how his legs were in a distorted position. He was near tears and preferred to wait for his wife rather than to go up against the soldiers on his own.
Beit Iba is one of the three main entrances to Nablus, About half a million people. But in spite of this the number of cars which pass here are more suited to a small village and this is mainly because of the fact that they cannot get permits and secondly because the checking of those who can enter mainly because one can't stop goods being taken into the town. A truck with 10s of boxes of eggplant is kept for more than half an hour and the driver is told to empty the truck. We looked on in despair. The truck itself was large enough for the boxes to be moved from side to side but the policeman insisted on having them taken down and put in an orderly fashion along the road. And of course after that he had to hoist them all up again…but who says that in Nablus they have to eat eggplant.
A funny story from the kiosk. One of the drivers worked in Netanya before the intifada at an absorption centre for Ethiopians. The administrator had given him a book to learn Amharit saying that he himself had no patience with the immigrants. And now he looks with nostalgia on parts of the book. There were Amharit times.