Beit Iba, Jit, Thu 17.4.08, Afternoon
14:20 - At the Shomron passage there was a long line of vehicles.
14:40 - At J'it Junction: empty.
15:10 - At Beit Iba there was a huge line at the entrance. We couldn't get in by car. When we got to the inspectors of vehicles, I brought to the attention of the soldier that there were 20 vehicles awaiting inspection. He said he hadn't noticed...and the line began to move.
15:30 - At the pedestrian checkpoint, the covered area was bursting. This was the usual crowded Thursday when the students are returning home. The humanitarian line moves well, as the DCO representative is on duty there. A soldier tries to move us, because we are blocking his view of what is going on at the checkpoint. I sat next to him on the bench and didn't block his vision.
In the covered area at the exit from the checkpoint, women were waiting for their husbands. A soldier shooes them away from the shed, to a place with no shade. The shed, according to the soldier, is only a passageway and not a waiting room, not even for putting your belt back on or your shoes. I pointed out to the commander that forcing people into the sun was cruel and unjustified. He agreed.
15:30 - The soldiers ask us to move back, but we don't respond. The commander is silent. I ask the DCO rep how many detainees there are. He refers me to the commander and says he will answer me. I turn to the commander, and he says: "I didn't count." I go to see by myself...
15:50 - The checkpoint is closed for 10 minutes because of the conflict with a soldier. Zvia keeps track of the wait at the checkpoint; she estimates it is about 40 minutes.
16:05 - Another 4 detainees. A female detainee sits on the side, her ID is checked and she is taken into the inspection booth. They take her out of there, and she waits next to the soldiers, not in the cell with the male detainees. Her friend waits for her a distance away. When I asked the commander why she was detained, he answered: "It isn't a punishment; there is a security reason."
A man approaches the commander and asks for help: his son is in the shed with all the people waiting there. He (the elderly father) went through the humanitarian line quickly, but his son has been there for 2 hours already and he still doesn't see him coming any closer. Maybe he could be allowed to take his son home? The commander sends the soldier (the one who got into a fight with me) to go with the man and take his son out of the shed.
The soldier, with drawn weapon, escorts the father to the shed, but is afraid to go in with him among all the Palestinians (this is the limit of his courage). He asks the father to go in alone and get his son. And that is what happens, and they go home.
16:15 - Another woman is taken into the inspection booth. Inspected and immediately let out. A group of 4 who entered the turnstile together (instead of one by one) is sent to the end of the line.
16:35 - I sit on the bench, next to the detained woman. However, we don't have a common language. Just a smile of recognition.
The hysterical soldier (from the fight) says to the commander: "I can't, they are hanging around here and bothering me, getting in my way." The friend of the detained women comes closer and asks, "Doesn't anyone here speak Arabic?" The answer is no; only the DCO rep speaks Arabic, and he has gone.
17:00 - The detainees are still there. They promised them 3 hours...the woman is let out, and we are ready to leave. Just then a policeman arrives and asks us to leave. We answer that, in any case, our shift is about over, and leave for the checkpoints at Tulkarm, Anabta and then Jabara. At the exit of the Beit Iba checkpoint there is still a line of about 20 vehicles. We are stuck in it until they let us through.