Beit Iba, Thu 7.2.08, Afternoon
Thursday is the day the students return home. The checkpoint is now fully developed. Includes a spoke to stop the cars and also a real traffic light. It is even more unbearable. Even if the checking is carried out without severity or the desire to harass it still makes twice as long as the previous method.
From week to week it is harder to watch. The Palestinians who hoped that our presence might help them in general and also would help the individual (nearly 6 years) utter more and more their words of disappointment. We after all represent the conqueror. Some utter angry sentences as they come out with their belts in their hands. Sometimes they curse us. This week a university professor explained to us in length how these checkpoints have exactly the opposite affect than that which they are supposed to have. The commander Y,. tries to work effectively but causes an atmosphere of tension. The military policewoman , M, who is so obvious in her vulgarity is not present today. The others are not vulgar as she is. There is no representative of the DCO.
5 detainees who tried to slip through,. One of them belongs to the frail care unit of a hospital and was on his way to a paralyzed man at Dir Sharif. Now he will have to put the treatment off for a couple of hours. It is hard to hear him say that he would rather be detained in the enclosure for three hours and be pushed around in the line at the checkpoint. What a preference!
The enclosure fills up so quickly with those who tried to slip through. When it is full then a few are freed each time before their time is up.
The car line is held up for 10 minutes because of a truck which is carefully checked and the soldiers run around trying to find who has to list. When the pressure builds up the commander shows his true administrative qualities. For a while he stops the humanitarian line, the passengers on the bus alight and are quickly checked. Also the bags. But in spite of this added efficiency there is much running around and shouting. The passengers do not exactly understand what is happening. One bus is detained because the driver had his keys taken from him and they don’t know who has them. Why were they taken? He could have broken through the iron spoke or the traffic light. We had no problem talking to the detainees nor were we chased away from where we stood.
Less traffic. We left feeling hopeless.