Beit Iba, Jit, Shave Shomron, Sun 20.1.08, Afternoon

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Observers: 
Alix W., Susan L (reporting) Guests: Virginia A., Eric G.
Jan-20-2008
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Afternoon

 Beit Iba, Jit.

"What's real, what's not" is an axiom that describes much of what we
witness in the OPT, week in, week out. The "reality" is what we, as
eyewitnesses, observe and try to describe, while the doubt, even when
the facts don't warrant it, is created by the planting, over and over
again, of the stories that don't appear, or of the silence that
permeates the media insofar as items about Palestinians and their non-
stop humiliation and harassment are concerned.

Shavei Shomron

Every few months, we check out this once busy checkpoint, now closed
and forgotten, the main road looking more and more like many of the
OPT's smaller unkempt roads. The colorful barricade across it is
tightly locked, and there's not a soldier in sight.

15:15 Beit Iba

Once again, there aren't many vehicles coming out of Nablus, never
more than five or six in either direction. Once again, there is a
plethora of soldiers, four at the vehicle checking posts (just no dog
this week), often with little to do. The situation is reversed at the
pedestrian checkpoint where there is a huge mass of humanity
throughout our shift, mainly at the turnstiles, both working, where,
at all times, 60-80 plus young men wait patiently to come back from
Nablus midst the usual din of shouting soldiers and shrieking
magnetometers. There are times when the humanitarian line is also
full of people. At others, it's empty, and many young men try their
luck at making their way forward – usually to no avail.

A., the DCO representative, is again in evidence, as is Y., the
commander. A. facilitates as much as he can, but is put into the
usual awkward position of a DCO who attempts to ease the passage of
pedestrians, many of whom plead and plead with him, occasionally with
some success. Yet others, seeing what's going on with A., turn back
and return to the regular line of their own accord. Y. acts the
commander, relating that the eight young men in the detention
compound, who we can no longer reach as at the old, less improved
checkpoint, are there as they tried to go round the checkpoint, were
caught and are now being held. No, not as "punishment" which is not
allowed, as we know, but as an "army rule which allows for them to be
kept for two hours."

Other young men who've reached the checking soldier's booth are
turned back to wait, all over again, at the endlessly long turnstile
lines. Once again, every man has to remove "everything that is
metal." Belts, phones, money, etc. and, of course, plastic bags and
briefcases, are examined, and the process is endlessly slow and
mindless.

16:00 -- at the vehicle checking area, all buses are checked,
soldiers entering and checking IDs. An elderly woman steps out of the
humanitarian line, hobbling badly, trying to mount the bus to help
her across the checkpoint. But a recalcitrant soldier (remembered
from last week as shouting non-stop at pedestrians) standing at the
bus doorway, refuses to let her get in. He and A., the DCO
representative now engage in a shouting match, won by the former, as
harassment and humiliation once again win the day. The old woman
continues to make her way painfully across this cruel and unfeeling
terrain.

16:45 -- as we make our way to leave, the pressure of pedestrians
returning home has lessened. At this hour only four vehicles from
Nablus, a couple more to Nablus, the humanitarian line is empty, and
there are only five men in the detention compound.