Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 20.7.08, Afternoon

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Alix W., Susan L. (reporting)

In the flawed reality of the heat, the haze and the craziness of summer in the OPT, we were reminded -- paradoxically – of the completely flawless voice, tenderness and compassion of Nat King Cole
singing, "Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…. Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer…" Unfortunately, we can hear that song only in our mind's eye and, instead, must attend to the
everyday life of Palestinians suffering from the yoke of the Occupation.

14:50 Shavei Shomron
The gate, today, is tightly locked and, as we turn to leave, a Hummer vehicle comes out of the base on the settlement, stops, a soldier gets out, looks at the sign on our windscreen and gets back into his vehicle. We
both make our way to our next tasks:

15:00 Beit Iba c.p
Not many trucks, three from Deir Sharaf, more from Nablus. At one point, the porter's wheelbarrow is turned more or less inside out as computers are uncovered, taken out of packaging and boxes, but otherwise nothing is done with them.

15:10 -- in the fast lane about 20 people, including families, and today, nobody is turned back. There about 20 young men in each of the two turnstile lanes. There are four soldiers, including the commander,
in the central checking area, and, at one time, all four are also inside the central checking booth, together with the two regulars working there. Why? The commander is flirting with a Military Policewoman (by now a common sight around here). Meanwhile, one of his men leaves the checking booth (the fast lane booth), wanders over to the turnstile area, picks up a book, flipping through the pages (for material harmful to the State of Israel, we presume), chats to the one detainee and leaves his post, so that a number of people just wander in and through the checking area. The commander is lackadaisical, drinks water as he fills in for the soldier missing from his position, joined by the inevitable Military Policewoman and another soldier, and
the three of them "hang out" (no other way to describe what is going on).

15:20 -- some time later, there's the incident with the wheelbarrow, everything is unwrapped by the soldier and Military Policewoman on duty at the vehicle checking area, but they are soon joined by the
other Military Policewoman and, of course, the commander. All stand around the brand new computers, taken from their boxes or from their shrink wrap. They stare at everything, do nothing more, and when the
representative of the DCO office arrives, he, too, joins this little crowd around the primitive wheelbarrow.

An ambulance waits, for nearly five minutes as this is going on. A procession of Hummer, jeep and earthmover makes its way towards Qesin. Finally, the porter moves, with the open cardboard boxes tucked back
into the wheelbarrow, and when we leave fifteen minutes later, he's again returning to the checkpoint, the wheelbarrow empty, for yet another round of "catch and carry."