Beit Iba, Wed 19.3.08, Morning
There are no special limitations. A driver says he waited and hour and a quarter to get out of Nablus. In the shed are 5 detainees, all taxi drivers. They were freed during the next hour and then another driver was brought in with a story without an end. A man came to him and said that a member of his family had said that a soldier had stolen a ring from him which he had put down in the holder that is used for goods which go into the x-ray device. This happened yesterday, Tuesday afternoon. His relative said this soldier is known for taking things from the holder. E.g. a banknote from his purse. We suggested that the man set up a meeting between us and this man so that he could point out the soldier. He was doubtful as to this possibility and asked us to speak to the commander which we did. (N.B. If this did indeed happen it is probably a military policeman who was not changed when the unit of reservists came to the checkpoint as the military police are responsible for the x-ray device. Maybe other shifts have had complaints which are more definite.)
As for the fight over the quarries this was by far the worse day that we could remember in the last three years that we have been every two weeks at the checkpoint.
We made a turn around the village and were invited by Dahilo and Rachimo to the village council. It seems that not many people visit the village because the accountant called in the mayor who arrives immediately with other people. The council building itself only has three rooms. The people feel hopeless and they are very ironic. They showed us the hospital, one room, a scale for an adult and one for a child. The doctor comes once a week for a few hours but they can always weigh people. With true pride they showed us their fax machine. On the wall of the office are telephone numbers and also some photos of handshaking. It is actually a far suburb of Nablus which stands on a hill outside area A. A fence separates the people and the municipal services of the area which are very basic and also places of work and entertainment. The exit of the village in the direction of the checkpoint of Jit is blocked for the last 3 years already. They can only exit through the checkpoint of Beit Iba. The passage to Nablus is possible only during the hours when the checkpoint is working. There are their complaints:
1. The checkpoint of Beit Iba is closed for trade purposes. Since the middle of February it has been impossible to bring goods into the village through Beit Iba and only through Awarta. This would be less difficult if the way to the crossroads of Jit had been open but with the present situation they have to make a big detour which takes them about 5 times that amount of time. Today if they want to bring vegetables into the village they have to make a trip which is longer than that from Tel Aviv to the Green Line.
2. There are not enough permits for the cars entering the village.There are 2000 inhabitants, 600 families. Of the 50 cars in the village only 4-5 have permits for the passage to Nablus. The DCO does not refuse them completely but exhausts them one way or the other.
3. The village is a target for the army and this has an economic impact. Soldiers have been using their houses for the past two years, using their electricity and water and not paying anything. Today too even though the houses have been "freed" the army makes invasions at night and the soldiers put enormous projectors on the houses and the inhabitants have to pay the account.
4. Electric accounts are enormous. The accountant says that the global sums that the family and the council have to pay come to 60% of the entire sum. 20 houses have already had their electricity cut off and are threatened by further cuts. There is no way that they can appeal. (if they phone they get an answering service and even the mayor who speaks some Hebrew is immediately cut off). We gave them the phone numbers of various organization and also that of the war room and the DCO. Edna will probably find a lawyer who speaks Hebrew to check on the affair of the electricity. She will keep an eye on the situation at Qusin.