Beit Iba, Thu 31.7.08, Afternoon
14:45 Few vehicles entering Nablus, about 12 exiting.
One checking booth operating in each direction.
About 20 people on line for the turnstile. Women are checked at the entry and at the exit.
(As we arrive, the soldier in the booth makes an effort to hang up the green flag of Women in Blue and White.)
No detainees in the shed.
15:00 About 40 people on line for the turnstile. The checking is done without delays.
15:30 A boy about 12 years old wants to go through. He's alone. The soldier explains (with the help of a local translator) that he has to be accompanied by an adult relative. The boy goes back to where he came from.
Ahmad, 27, exits the turnstile very upset. He tells us that he was detained this morning for two hours. Now he's being detained again. The checkpoint commander takes him over to the detainees' shed. He takes care of the matter and releases him in ten minutes.
A line of about 7 cars on the entry road, but there's no car being checked at the booth. The cause of the delay isn't clear.
The checkpoint commander, a lieutenant, is welcoming and polite, solves problems quickly, increases the number of soldiers checking when a line forms. He shows that he cares about the people passing through the checkpoint. He tells us that he makes sure to behave appropriately, and that as far as he's concerned there don't have to be any checkpoints at all. One of the soldiers (the one who hung up the green flag) turns to us defiantly, "Why do you come? To interfere? To report us?" We asked the commander for permission to explain to the two soldiers what we're doing here, and he agreed. Sara explained, pleasantly, but the soldiers weren't convinced.
16:30 We left the checkpoint.