Beit Iba, Thu 31.7.08, Morning

Observers: 
Shoshana Z., Nina S. (reporting) Translator: Charles K.
31/07/2008
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Morning
 Beit Iba08:20  Two cars are checked by the dog handler, a short line of cars is at the exit to the city.  No lines of pedestrians.  The checkpoint is almost as clean and polished as it would be in Switzerland, but the water dripping from the air conditioners forms a pool on which green scum forms.One detainee,  a taxi driver who came too close and is being punished.  They said he'd be released about

08:30.

A resident of Deir Sharaf who wants to take his car to Nablus for repairs – he says there aren't any garages in Deir Sharaf – but he doesn't have permission to bring the car in, and is refused entry, despite the fact that he has a permit to enter Israel and is willing to leave it at the checkpoint as a guarantee.  In any case, he could go around through ‘Anabta in about an hour and enter Nablus through Asira.  So why refuse?
A donkey cart carrying many heavy sacks, led by an elderly man has to unload about 20 sacks so the dog can check everything.  Meanwhile a soldier comes over to the donkey, stands facing it and waves his fingers next to the donkey's eyes.  The donkey, of course, is startled and jumps back; the soldier apparently enjoys this.

09:00  Now they're also starting to check the women.  Of course, a line of pedestrians immediately forms at the entrance.

09:20  A car with Women in Blue and White arrives and naturally drives right into the army base and parks near the steps.  They move into the lines, into the defensive barriers where the soldiers are stationed and distribute little flags, drinks and cakes, and – of course – chat.

"That doesn't interfere with the operation of the checkpoint!"Their arrival is announced over the PA system – calling all the soldiers to come get their presents.All the soldiers are busy with the guests, chatting, and no one goes through the checkpoint.  By now the line numbers about 60 people – let them wait.  The soldier, of course, has to flirt with the woman and the cakes.  After a while they began letting people through again – holding a cup with a drink in one hand and a cookie in the other, and that's how they check documents.

They left, and now we also gave the checkpoint commander material about MachsomWatch – "Four facts you didn't know about the checkpoint – Who we are."


A number of people from specific villages have been detained and are brought one at a time to be interrogated by the General Security Services ("Shabak").  They're released pretty quickly.
When the DCO officer comments to one of the soldiers that there's a long line, and that they might speed things up, the reply was, "The line can reach all the way to Jerusalem for all I care."