Azzun, Beit Iba, Wed 19.3.08, Afternoon
14.25 Azzun is closed with barbed wire and dirt mounds and also iron rounds. The village of Jit is open and the checkpoint not manned.
14.55 Beit Iba.
Two red signs are in front of the checkpoint, one far away and the other very near. Both have area A which is the sign of the Palestnian authority erased but all the lying text has been left. "The area in front of you, area A. is that of the Palestinian authority and Israelis may not enter and anyone doing so transgresses the law." It is true that this is a Palestinian area but it is still under Israeli control and Israelis pass here freely and the checkpoint itself is under the control of the Israeli army with Israeli soldiers manning it. We see these signs at all the checkpoints which we go to. (I would think that this is a matter for a lawyer). The entrance to Nablus has only 9 cars waiting. At the exit the line is so long that we cannot see the end of it. The humanitarian line streams through and the checking is short. In the shed there is no crowding, about 50 people at each checking area. Here the checking is very careful and the people strip sometimes including shoes. They come outside and then get dressed. There are 4 detainees who had tried to slip through. Tomer from the DCO does his best to help and the fact that the humanitarian line is so fast is thanks to him. He says that two of the detainees will soon be freed and the other two in two hours time. From time to time a bus goes through with children on a trip and is quickly checked. The soldiers enter the bus, check IDs and send them on. 15.35 Two more detainees who tried to slip through. We met a volunteer from Norway who asked us about the massive building of the checkpoint. They say that when they were last year this had not been so. We said that maybe then it had not been thought that the checkpoint would be there for eternity. Tammie asks Tomer to check why the detainees are not freed and he says that 2 will be freed at 16.15 and the other two at 17.00. The commander has shortened the time they have to be there. 16.00 3 soldiers come happily to the checkpoint with 3 who had tried to slip through.
16.15 The line exiting Nablus has no end. There is a change in shift. Reservists. The commander is stricter. Those coming out of the checking area have to get dressed outside which means that they have to walk in their socks on the filthy ground outside. Why? Because. Tammie asks the previous commander to see that the detainees are freed before the shifts are changed. He frees the two as promised and we meet their friend who did not slip through and is waiting for them….he has waited 15 minutes. Tammie explains to them that it is not worth their while to try to slip through.
16.45 We leave for Anabta and A-Ras