Beit Iba, Jit, Wed 23.7.08, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Summing up: Soldiers in Shvut Ami promise that the Palestinian house won't be taken over by settlers.
The checkpoint at the Jit intersection, coming from Huwwara.
At Beit Iba the checkpoint ticks away, efficient, quick, polite. It's frightening to see how the checkpoint, that delays and paralyzes all areas of Palestinian life, has become an inseparable part of life, as if it were a law of nature, one accepted as if it were a heavenly decree. The checkpoint is, in fact, an efficient means of taming the Palestinians and turning them into an obedient people.
And like every day, there's almost no vehicle traffic in or out of the largest city in the northern West Bank. Almost the only entry possible is on foot. Almost no merchandise goes through other than in donkey carts.
The entry at Asira-a-Shamaliya is open to residents of villages in the area, usually without anyone being checked.
Shvut Ami: 7:10
This illegal outpost, that has been evacuated and reoccupied by the settlers more than ten times in the past – it seems that this time the army has decided to stop playing games. We saw soldiers eating breakfast next to the building (that belongs to a Palestinian woman) comprising the settlement. They're there to prevent settlers from entering. The latter set up tents – again, on Palestinian land – among the trees on the other side of the road.
Jit intersection – 7:15
Army vehicle and soldiers – checkpoint coming from Huwwara. One taxi checked and released in a minute or two. We didn't wait around.
Beit Iba – 7:25-10:00
7:25 A few dozen young men, mostly students, on line to enter Nablus. They're being checked simultaneously by a soldier, a female MP and the DCO representative. In fewer than five minutes the line is gone. That was the picture during our entire stay. Every time a wave of people arrived the check was carried out quickly, sometimes on only a sample of those waiting. Women and elderly men usually aren't checked. It's worth noting that at the Huwwara checkpoint people entering Nablus aren't checked at all.
All the people are obedient. They know where to stop – next to the red line – about three meters from the soldier doing the checking. If they come closer he says to them, politely, "kullu luwarra" (everyone back). We really succeeded in training them!!!
People whose "number came up" (those with ID numbers ending in the 4 digits on the list held by the soldier checking) don't have to wait more than 2-3 minutes, either.
We note that the soldier who is checking speaks Arabic.
Few people are leaving Nablus at this hour. Men leaving pass through the magnemometer, holding their belts in their hands. Women and elderly men pass through a separate line. We saw a woman waiting on the other side of the checkpoint for her young son – slightly more than 5 minutes.
There's a DCO representative on site. He's new. His name is Waffi. He helps check when the line is long. He deals with all unusual problems, usually quickly and to the satisfaction of people passing through. The checkpoint commander, a 2nd lieutenant, consults him.
One detainee. The commander said he bypassed the checkpoint (what the local laundered language refers to as "zoleg" – a "trickler"). He's already been detained for an hour and a half. After another hour he's released.
There are no lines at the vehicle checkpoint. Many minutes sometimes pass between one vehicle entering Nablus and the next. There's always a line of 2-4 vehicles exiting. That's the result of the policy of not granting permission for vehicles to pass through. Bus passengers (also rare) don't have to get off to be checked, and they're checked quickly.
A cleaning worker sweeps the ground every few minutes, and even placed a garbage can next to the line.
9:00 A man leaving Nablus, holding an American passport. The DCO representative makes a call. A few minutes later the man goes through.
9:15 A man with a blue ID card arrives from Nablus. His father lives in Nablus. The DCO representative makes a call. After a while, he's released.
9:25 A man enters Nablus carrying a sick boy, a mask covering the boy's nose. A few minutes later he returns with the same child. Some device is now connected to the mask with a tube. The whole way – from the taxi at the entry to the taxi on the Nablus side, and back – a total of 300-400 meters – he carries the child (maybe 7 years old) in his arms.
9:40 A young man coming from Nablus is sent to the detainee area. He's accompanied by his uncle, who waits with him. He says he's an Israeli citizen "who entered Nablus by mistake." The DCO representative makes a call. They were still waiting when we left the checkpoint at 10:00.
Mahmoud Nasar from Radio Nablus reports that at Asira-a-Shamaliya, north of Nablus, the checkpoint has been open for the past three months. It's manned by soldiers, but most of the time no one is checked.
Jenaideh – A large military vehicle is parked by the side of the road. Could it be lying in wait for vehicles bypassing the roadblock on Route 60 near Shavei Shomron (the main Nablus-Jenin road)?