Beit Iba, Thu 19.6.08, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
06:50 Eliyahu Gate – Dozens of Palestinians waiting to be checked in order to enter Israel. They say they've been waiting on line since 04:00. Only one lane is open. It takes at least half a minute to check each person, and hundreds pass through in the morning. The Palestinians report that sometimes a second window is opened, and then people go through faster. It isn't clear why it isn't possible to open a second window every day, given the long lines. Some of those waiting are preparing lists, which makes getting through faster and better organized, but even so there are many who, by the time they finally get through, find that their employer is no longer waiting for them, and they've lost a day of work. The Border Police commander on site comes over to us, and we ask why they don't open a second window. He says there's only one computer terminal on site, and that's why they can't open a second window. Apparently the IDF budget has to be increased so they can install a second computer terminal.
07:50 Beit Iba Traffic flows freely. 2 vehicles entering Nablus are examined within a few minutes. 6 vehicles exiting Nablus, are on line for about 10 minutes. Pedestrians are also checked entering Nablus. Women and older men pass through without being checked. Every so often a wave of people arrives, apparently passengers from a bus, and they're let through almost without being checked – just a sample of them. The checkpoint is amazingly clean. A Palestinian works there, and makes sure to clean up anything that falls. He washes down the red line that marks where those entering Nablus have to stand. Porters pass with carts pulled by donkeys and laden with bundles of jeans or other packages. They're usually checked quickly. A dog handler is on site, and she's called every so often to check vehicles.
08:30 A line of six vehicles enter Nablus. They're checked and pass through in 8 minutes. One man is detained because his ID number appears on a list of people to be checked more carefully. The DCO representative is there, and he says that it won't take more than an hour to check him. Two elderly women who walk with difficulty pass through the checkpoint on foot. One is accompanied by another woman, and clearly has difficulty walking. We asked the DCO representative why women like that can't pass through in a vehicle. He explains that taxis waiting on the eastern, Nablus side of the checkpoint are cheaper than those waiting on the other side, so people prefer to go through on
foot and then take a taxi to Nablus even old women who can hardly walk.
09:30 The detainee is released after a consultation between him, the DCO representative and the checkpoint commander. He's on his way to Kochin. Another wave of people shows up, most are passed through without being checked, except for a few who are examined more carefully. Few vehicles entering and exiting Nablus. We leave the checkpoint.