Beit Iba, Thu 3.4.08, Afternoon
14.00 Beit Iba
On our way to the checkpoint two taxi drivers said that we should hurry as there was unbearable pressure at the checkpoint. We saw more than 100 young people waiting in the shed at the two checking areas. 15 cars in both directions. Many carts and drivers and when they are checked the cars have to wait. There are two detainees who tried to slip through who were checked and sent to wait in the shed and freed after half an hour. We also saw that those trying to slip through were hunted down without stopping . An unending line of women and the elderly in the humanitarian lane.
THE COMMANDER ANSWERS OUR QUESTION BUT DISTANCES US FROM THE CHECKING AREAS SAYING THAT WE ARE DISTURBING THE WORK.
15.00 6 more detainees. Workers from a nearby factory are stopped but afterwards sent to the end of the line to be checked. 2 Israelis who had tried to enter Nablus are also detained. They say that the waiting period in the line is about an hour to an hour and a half. The lines of cars leaving Nablus remains lengthy and at the entrance there are waves, sometimes 10 cars. Mainly when the soldiers are checking the loaded carts. After a few minutes the line decreases.
15.30 Next to the checkpoint area of the cars going into Nablus is a private cart with two passengers who are carefully checked but still detained after that. It seems that the driver has a permit to go to the hospital in Nablus to visit relations. He had received the permit two hours ago but has no permit for his car and only he can go in. Now the shift which has changed does not believe his story. The DCO intervenes and after a few minutes he is freed.
16.00 The pressure of the pedestrians and car leaving Nablus is no less. The soldiers work continuously. A captain with the rank of major will not speak to us but stands at the checkpoint to see what is happening. There are now 9 detainees. He says they will be punished and will be there for three hours.
Another 4 people are detained for trying to slip through and we see soldiers going along the road to Kuchin to catch others.
16.45 The pressure of pedestrians begins to let up and there are now about 50 waiting. At the entrance and exit of Nablus are some cars. The porters are still going through in both directions. Now and again the soldiers stop and check carefully. They are especially careful when they see something out of the ordinary like a heater without the insides.
17.00 We leave when the pressure seems to have lessened. There are still 6 detainees.