Beit Iba, Jit, Mon 23.6.08, Morning

Observers: 
Osnat R., Roni S. (reporting
23/06/2008
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Morning

 9:30  The Jit checkpoint isn't manned. 9:40  No cars entering Nablus, and few exiting.  We stand in our usual place outside the checkpoint in the empty area near the turn to Kochin in order to observe the exit lanes.  As noted, very little traffic, and even though there's a dog handler she isn't working, apparently because the weather is very hot.  The checkpoint commander approaches us and demands we move away because we're in a "sterileinfo-icon" area of his checkpoint.  We tell him that we've always stood there and it never bothered anyone before and in addition we have a right to stand here, etc. etc.  His response is to threaten us that if we don't move immediately he'll call the police.  We showed him the letter from the legal advisor but it didn't impress him, and since he didn't impress us either we stayed where we were a little longer than we had originally intended and then moved over to the area where pedestrians were being checked, fully expecting to have another argument. There were few pedestrians in either direction.  Three detaineesinfo-icon in the pen, and of course we weren't allowed to talk with them.  Later we learned that two of them were caught trying to sneak in זולגים?"" and the third was a taxi driver.  We stood on the side within the area of the checkpoint and watched what was going on.  A veiled woman was checked in the booth by a female soldier, the commander checked the contents of pocketbooks belonging to women entering Nablus, and in order to do so demanded we move from where we were standing and again demanded we leave the checkpoint.We refused to leave and waited for the police whom he said he had called.  He tried to harass us by moving us around, providing a running report via cellphone to some anonymous person about every movement of ours that interferes with him and his soldiers and endangers them.  T., the DCO representative, who came over from the vehicle checkpoint, suggested to us that we not get involved with him.  They're regular army soldiers who are at the checkpoint for only a short time and they're not familiar with all the procedures…We waited over half an hour, and since the police still hadn't arrived we decided to leave.  When we started to go the officer ran after us and demanded we wait.  We refused and again showed him the document authorizing us to be present, and when he asked us to identify ourselves I, with supreme confidence, which turned out later to be incorrect, refused, because I thought that a soldier was forbidden to demand that a civilian identify themself or to detain a civilian.  To prove that he was right he showed us a document from 2004, handwritten on letterhead from "Kachol Lavan", but signed by the police, authorizing the soldiers to remove us from the checkpoints or to call the police.  The document didn't impress us (we kept it, and Osnat will try to pass it on.) 10:30  We left, and I gave the commander Machsom Watch's card (which was pretty stupid of me). 


 

Epilogue That afternoon a man telephoned Miki Fisher and wanted to know the names of the women from Machsom Watch who were at Beit Iba that morning.  When she asked who he was, he said that he was from Kachol Lavan and he wants to file a complaint against us with the police.  Miki refused to give him the information.Another example of the symbiotic relations between the army and Kachol Lavan/settlers.We're able to handle the harassment and the arbitrariness, but for the Palestinians who have to go through it every day it's simply insufferable.