Beit Iba, Tue 12.8.08, Morning
07:00-08:10 Beit Iba checkpoint
On the way to the checkpoint, there was a line of 30 workers at Sha'ar Eliyahu. At Beit Iba, very few people at the entrance and the exit from Nablus. When we arrived, an officer met and greeted us. In answer to our question about the small number of people going through, the officer claimed that the situation in Nablus is not good so, in order to make things easier for the people, they opened another passage. It is not clear whether that is the reason but, in any case, it is clear that the vacation has begun and the usual picture of students with notebooks in their hands is missing. The sergeant claimed that this is the main reason for the light traffic. Later, at around 07:30, more Palestinians started arriving, all of them are checked with almost no distinction made between age groups; only women are allowed to pass through without inspection. A couple, the wife entirely covered, try to understand how to pass through. Finally they understood that the women go through without waiting, but the man refuses to leave his wife and tries to go through with her. He is asked to return to the end of the line to be inspected, which upsets him a lot. In the end, he is checked thoroughly and rushes after his wife. An example representing the kinds of exchange going on, all in a very authoritarian and unpleasant tone. Spoken to a middle-aged Palestinian who seems rather nervous: "Nervous? Calm down." When there is no response, he changes to English. "Don't you understand?" Irritated when the line is not orderly enough, "Stand in line!" Doctors arrive and try to go through; the officer sends them back to the end of the line, "Don't argue!" The officer gets angry at a doctor who tries to convince him to let him move forward in the line: "There is a line. What isn't clear? There is a correct line." Etc., etc. When we are about to leave, the traffic becomes very light again. A Palestinian turns to us and asks: "It is not good for me here. But, can I leave Palestine?" And truly, how? That is also complicated. We left with the usual discouraged feeling.
08:15-08:45 'Anabta. Sparce trafic moving with no problems. An officer approaches us and politely explains his exact method of work. He also takes the trouble to point out that, in fact, we are not allowed to stand at the checkpoint because it is dangerous for us and, for the sake of our safety, he has to halt the passage. He also prefers that our car be close to him so he can keep an eye on it. We didn't argue, as everything was said with good will and the traffic was flowing all the time.