Beit Iba, Jit, Qalqiliya, Wed 11.6.08, Afternoon
14:20 Eliyahu Gate, entering Israel, near Qalqilya. 12 vehicles on line. Traffic moves freely. The Qalqilya checkpoint is almost empty. 5 vehicles on line to enter the city, 8 leaving. No delays, and traffic flows freely.
15:10 The Jit checkpoint isn't manned (for a long time now).
15:15 Beit Iba. No vehicles waiting to enter the city. Exiting – two ambulances and 12 automobiles. No delays, and traffic flows freely.
15:20 The shed is empty, but immediately fills up with people who came on a bus. Dozens of students are returning from the university. The summer semester started yesterday. It will last a month and a half, and then summer vacation.
The checking goes quickly, and the shed empties.
No detainees. The humanitarian line is also almost empty. Female students pass through it quickly.
At the entrance to the city – pedestrians stand in line and are checked (an innovation that has already been in effect for a few weeks). From time to time a line forms, but checking is done quickly and the line disappears immediately.
When we entered the area of the checkpoint, a soldier signaled to us that we should move back. We ignored him.
The commander, a resident of Beit El, runs the checkpoint in an appropriate manner. He's willing to talk with us (he's from the Kfir brigade).
Tomer – the DCO representative is more amiable. He tells us that a few hours earlier a vehicle passed through carrying matriculation exams for the schools.
Unusually, four buses passed through today while we were at the checkpoint. In each case the men are taken off to be checked in the shed, while the bus passes through the checkpoint carrying the women and the elderly men, and waits there for the other men to return. We timed how long the bus waits to be checked – a quarter of an hour.
Five students spoke with us. Each lives in a different village in the area. The conversation was pleasant.
A minibus full of people arrives at the checkpoint. The driver presents his ID card. The trunk in the rear is checked, but none of the passengers.
The atmosphere is relaxed. When we left we discovered a new roadblock: on the Kochin road boulders block half the width of the road. It turns out that the roadblock serves as an "usher" for taxis carrying people from Kochin to the checkpoint, and back. It is forbidden for two taxis to stand next to each other on the side near the checkpoint. Only after a taxi fills up and leaves for Kochin is the next taxi allowed to pass through the checkpoint and wait for passengers on the side near the checkpoint. Things are organized!
Only now do we understand what the argument that we witnessed was about, between a taxi driver and the checkpoint commander who detained him because he didn't follow the new arrangements. Next time he'll know. Only after he promised not to repeat his horrible mistake was he released.
Although there aren't any soldiers next to the roadblock of boulders, it's controlled from a distance – from the checkpoint, and from the tower.
16:00 We leave, heading for ‘Anabta.