Beit Iba, Mon 14.7.08, Morning
08:30 Beit Iba Checkpoint
A taxi driver approached us to ask that we try to persuade the checkpoint commander to let him enter Nablus for periodic servicing of his vehicle in the importer's garage, which is only in Nablus. To get a permit he would have to go to the DCO, where he would only receive two days. The commander of course refused, claiming that he could get a three month permit even if he lives in Tulkarm. We asked the driver why he didn't drive via Tulkarm and A-Sira, which are open to everyone. His answer was distance - he would regret the cost of it. In other words, just the compelled roundabout for its own sake, since any vehicle can enter Nablus by the longer route.
The traffic lines are short in both directions. Coming out, few people in line, and going in as usual a line that sometimes numbers 20-30, then vanishes quickly. Women usually not checked.
A soldier at the entry point, and a military policeman next to him "to assist." The MP using verbal violence on the passers by. Two women with children wait for them to deal with a son of one of them who apparently isn't written in the mother's ID - maybe a mistake, maybe her nephew, or brother, who knows... nobody is dealing with them, and they are waiting. The DCO rep isn't there and no one, including the checkpoint commander, knows where he is. When I ask the soldier what's happening with them, he asks the military policeman who decides to drive them off, which he does excessively rudely. He responds to our comments on his attitude with verbal violence directed qat us. Seems that the commander called him on the radio because he vanishes, the soldier deals with the woman and lets her pass. Long live arbitrariness!
Two detainees, one a taxi driver who was asked a number of times to back off, and didn't, and the other who tried to slip past. The commander explains to us that they must be punished, and therefore they are detained for three hours.