Azzun, Beit Iba, Jit, Qalqiliya, Tue 1.7.08, Morning

Shlomit S., Ruth C. (reporting) Translator: Charles K.

   Beit Iba checkpoint, 6:30-8:20On the way to the checkpoint: a relatively short line of workers and vehicles at Eliyahu Gate and at the Qalqilya checkpoint.  The roadblock at Azzun is open and residents are passing through it.  The flags at the Jit intersection are frayed, as if it isn't clear to them what they're still doing there. Beit Iba – very many students, who from time to time form a line a few meters long.  As usual, there isn't a clearly defined separate line for women, which leads to confusion among anyone who isn't familiar with the checkpoint.  The Palestinians are polite and courteous, and make way for women and the elderly.  The soldiers function well, and whenever a line forms the commander comes over to help and also checks people, so the average waiting time isn't more than a few minutes.  Another officer who arrives impolitely pushes the people on line a little bit, hoping to create a more-organized line, which in the long run doesn't help.  There's also a lot of traffic leaving Nablus, which flows all the time.  When we were about to leave an army vehicle carrying a Palestinian arrived.  His ID card was taken away and he was put in the pen.  The vehicle traffic is light and flows freely.

, 08:30 – 09:00
When we were at Beit Iba we were asked to see what was happening at 'Anabta.  According to the Palestinians, there's a very long wait to leave Tulkarm.  In the early morning hours the wait was reported to be one hour.  When we arrive there is, in fact, a fairly long line, about 20 vehicles, and the average waiting time is 15-20 minutes.  Checks are random and continuous, and from time to time a vehicle is asked to move to the side and is checked more carefully.  It might be worth coming to this checkpoint earlier next time, because the Palestinians say there are many problems every morning. 
To our request that the gate be opened, the response was that there's no key, and there won't be one in the near future.  We asked how people will leave the village in case of an emergency, and were told that when it happens they'll find a solution.  For now, and for the foreseeable future, the gate can't be opened.  When we tried, nevertheless, to have them check with headquarters we were told there was no point, that we should wait, that it would take a long time.  After some more back-and-forth we gave up and drove to Qalqilya. 
The checkpoint is surrounded by new, shiny barbed wire that prevents passage from every direction.  About 10 cars on line to enter and slightly fewer to exit.  Here, too, the residents say there was a very long line in the morning and people had to wait a long time.  Random checks were conducted while we were there, and people waited only a few minutes.  After a short time we continued on our way.