Beit Iba, Sun 6.7.08, Afternoon

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Alix W., Susan L. (reporting)


Beit Iba, Sunday, 6.07.08 pm E only


One has to wonder whether the oft quoted Biblical citation, "They
shall have no mercy" has become a dictate of the army of occupation in
the OPT. That, and the fact that Ira Gershwin's "Summertime and the
livin' is easy," has turned into the opposite since day to day living
is ever more difficult for the people living in the OPT.

!5:45 Beit Iba

At the checkpoint, the kind of hot summer day where the "livin' should
be easy." A slow day in horrendous heat. We have just arrived, and the
commander immediately comes over to complain that we are not standing
where we should. "Not against this wall, against that wall." No
difference in this central checking area, merely that he has to show
who's in command. He gets so annoyed by our insistence on remaining
where we are, that he complains fifteen minutes later to the DCO
representative and proceeds to demonstrate, to him, to us, by going
over to stand by the wall he wants us at. One of the reasons we don't
stand where he wants us is that this is exactly the area where they
have to put themselves together again after the humiliation of taking
off belts, shoes, etc.

There are five men in the detention compound, one of them is handed
back his mobile phone by the commander shortly after our arrival, two
are let go a little later.

Little vehicular traffic: a truck with Zim container comes from
Nablus, as does an emergency medical supply truck; a tractor, pulling
a covered wagon, full of candy, is turned back and makes its way up
the hill towards Qusin. One of the porters' donkey carts is checked,
two or three other cars going into Nablus have their trunks examined.

16:00 -- There are more people, as is usual these days, in the fast
lane than the young men coming through the turnstiles.

The soldier who should be checking the fast lane, which is now empty,
comes over to us, asking which bus we take to get to Beit Iba. Seems
amazed that we come in a private car: "You're not afraid?" While he
speaks to us, a few people, seeing his position abandoned, come
through without being stopped. At other times, when things are slow,
the soldiers sing and show how cheerful they are.

 16:05 -- The commander goes over to the detention compound and lets two of the five  through the turnstiles. The commander now brings a
jerrycan of water over to the remaining young men in the compound. Of
course, it goes without saying he refuses to tell us why they are there.

16:15 --Since our arrival, a broom has been lying in the center of
the central checking area, by the turnstile exit. Surprising that no
one has tripped over it. Surprising that nobody has picked it up. The
commander finally does so.