– a taxi driver who clashed with the checkpoint commander and slapped him, according to the driver himself, was beaten by the commander to the point of requiring medical treatment and transfer to hospital. The DCO officer at the checkpoint, Lieutenant R.managed the affair with responsibility given the existing circumstances and possibilities. Who knows how it could have ended but for his intervention. His contribution to resolving problems was most positive.
The new procedures at the checkpoint do not allow us to see everything that happens, and particularly not the detainees
hut and the line of people exiting Nablus.
08:30 - 10:20 Beit Iba.
Two carts loaded with goods are being taken apart. One of them contains jeans from the sewing plant, all of which are thrown on the wet, dirty road.
The DCO officer, Lieutenant R. suggests to us that we turn to him for any problem that arises.
There are long minutes without any car at the entrance to, or exit from Nablus, the second largest town in the West Bank. From the much smaller Tulkarm (at 'Anabta) we saw a constant flow of a few cars per minute. This is the result of the policy of a few years of prevention of permits for vehicles to and from Nablus on various excuses. It thins down and kills economic, social and cultural life. There is a dog minder and a dog. The check of vehicles, done randomly, causes humiliation and anger for the passengers. But the check is brief, about two minutes.
08:45 – uproar at the exit from Nablus draws our attention. We see a man trying to reach the huts, and being shoved back by a soldier into the line of entrants. Afterwards he shouts, and continues to shout, something. At the time we missed out on seeing the actual event that led to the shouts. In the detainees compound, a soldier with a rifle (turns out to be the commander) is beating someone. We see the man lying on the ground. Inbal sees the soldier aim a kick at the man. It is important to note that we are not allowed to approach and see what is happening, so Inbal’s testimony is despite the concrete barrier that limits the view. Meanwhile, the DCO officer rushes over. The beating stops.
We ask those standing in the exit line, who were closer and saw everything. They said that the soldier beat the man in the ribs with his rifle. They say the man is mad, "sick in the head," which they had heard from his brother, the man who shouted and pushed in order to defend the victim.
According to R., the DCO officer, it all began with a usual argument between the checkpoint commander and the taxi driver, who refused to obey an order and even slapped the commander. (We ask the Palestinian witnesses repeatedly about the reason for the blows. Nobody mentions the slap.) R. says the man is not mad. He talked with him. We say that whoever slaps the checkpoint commander – there is no better proof that he is out of his senses. He also says that he thinks the man is acting (apparently about his physical condition) but, in any case, R. calls an ambulance. We try to see what is happening in the detainee hut. The man is lying down. After a quarter of an hour he sits up on the bench and holds his right hand in his left as though injured.
At 09:10 a Palestinian ambulance arrives with two paramedics. They treat him for almost an hour, then put him in the ambulance, to which he walks supported by one of the paramedics. The paramedics refuse to answer our questions. One of them will only say that the man apparently had an operation, and the blows were on exactly the same spot.
At 09:45 a captain, possibly the company commander, arrives and has a long conversation with the checkpoint commander and R.
That marks the end of the incident.
Meanwhile the checkpoint continued its regular functions.
09:00 – a porter who works regularly at transporting the baggage of pedestrians on a supermarket cart, is not allowed to pass. He arrives at the checkers’ station and argues. A soldier comes out and drags him by force to the detainees pen. Meanwhile the cart and its contents remains deserted on the road. The checkpoint commander says the porter is smuggling people through the checkpoint. Therefore they will not allow him to continue working.
09:20 – a student arrives with his sister, aged 10. The soldier does not allow them to enter Nablus. No explanation. After we involve the DCO officer, they are allowed to continue on their way. In general this soldier is behaving in a disgusting fashion. True he has to check those entering all by himself (and today all young men are checked against a list of ID numbers), together with the humanitarian line coming out, and to transfer IDs that appear in the list to the Military Police post where there is a computer (and it’s not as if there is a shortage of soldiers circulating at the checkpoint). He shouts all the time. He is the one who shoved the brother of the beaten up taxi driver and the porter. From time to time he decides to punish one of the passers by for no reason. He takes the ID and lays it down next to him instead of passing it on for inspection. When we approach the checkpoint commander in one instance, he returns the ID immediately without any inspection.
O9:50 – a Jordanian citizen appears. The soldier turns to the DCO officer, who passes the man and tells him to apply to the DCO office.
– no checkpoints.
– both roads open, no soldiers present.
– from the road there are no signs of life in the place, but we see two settler girls marching in the direction: where could they be going?