Beit Iba, Tue 11.3.08, Morning

Ruthi C., Shlomit S. (reporting)

07:45 - 08:30 Beit Iba Checkpoint
The prevailing routine and tranquillity are depressing.

The line of people entering Nablus gets longer and shorter alternately. A raised finger by a soldier allows the transients to pass without inspection. Lowering of the finger denotes the need now to stop, line up behind an imaginary divider and pass one by one for an ID check (a little like the children’s game “build a bridge, build a bridge, build a bridge from gold – all pass, all pass, the last stays”).  From time to time one of the youngsters is detained outside the line, till a phone call comes to release him.

People leave Nablus to the chirping of the metal and explosive detectors. Seems that they have adopted a skill in threading belts while walking. The hand movements are sparing and automatic. Embarrassing. Difficult to meet their eyes.

Despite the prohibition of talking to us, the soldier we approached succeeded in telling us that we are only allowed to talk to the commander, and with his eyes he indicated the direction in which we would find the checkpoint commander. And, indeed, the commander, determined, assertive and polite, informed us not to talk to anyone but him.