Beit Iba, Qalqiliya, Wed 13.8.08, Afternoon
14:30 On the way to Beit Iba we stopped to look at the Qalqilya checkpoint. No lines, and traffic is flowing.
15:00 Beit Iba. On the way to the checkpoint on foot we met Khalil with the cart, transporting cardboard boxes. He said the soldiers told him that's the last time they'll let him bring in boxes like those. Why? Because.
The sparse vehicle traffic flows freely.
Regarding pedestrians – the shed is almost empty. People go through the humanitarian lane in dribs and drabs. Almost no one is there. There are two detainees in the shed. Sarah asks the commander about the detainees. Answer: "They're taxi drivers. They entered a forbidden area. Caused a disturbance." Another soldier continues: "It's very important, ma'am. They cause a disturbance and annoy us. They aren't allowed to cause a disturbance."
In response to our question about how long they'll be detained, the answer: "We'll keep them here for two hours."
Sarah: "You know that harms their livelihood?"
Soldier: "They interfere with our work. We know where they're allowed to be, and they keep trying, more and more. They're not allowed to be in the forbidden area, just like you're not allowed past the white line."
He just throws that out, without even asking us to move back behind any white line.
The commander is in a good mood. He lets me get a trashcan to sit on. Both soldiers are wearing sniper scopes on their hats.
A woman is taken to be checked and immediately released.
A young man passes through the magnemometer a few times, removing something else each time: belt, shoes – and finally gets through.
15:40 Since everything's calm, and the detainees will be held for another hour, at least – we leave.
In general – No people. Quiet. Deserted. Sad. In September, classes at the university will probably begin again, and they won't have a choice other than to fill the checkpoint again.