Beit Iba, Thu 7.8.08, Afternoon
13.18 A long line of cars on road 55 close to Ma’ale Shomron. Police approach Israeli cars to say that because of a suspicious object on the road there could be an hour’s delay and it is advisable to travel via the settlement Ma’ale Shomron. Palestinian cars remain in the line. From the settlement one could see a line of dozens of cars also in the opposite direction.
13.42 In Shevut Ami there is no sign of the army who are supposed to guard the Palestinian house against encroachment by settlers. Across the road, in an improvised camp, one could distinguish a number of young Jews.
14.06 Beit Iba checkpoint. A number of taxi drivers approach us to ask if we know anything about the opening of the checkpoint at Shavei Shomron (a main road to Jenin blocked for some two years now by the army) which was announced on the radio. We contact the civilian administration who confirm that the route will be reopened on Saturday. And once again we see that opening and closing traffic routes are not connected to a particular security situation but serve a political purpose.
The soldier points to some of the lucky ones who are permitted to pass in the ‘humanitarian’ line and tells them to put their packages on the ground and open them. In one case there is a parcel of cups packed as a gift and the soldier hesitates whether to make the owner open it. Another soldier who had been leaning against the wall chatting, calls over to him “yes, let him open.”
Young men who stop to fasten their belts that they had been made to remove are chased off with insulting remarks. They have to go out into the sun to rearrange their clothing.
The soldiers used coarse and derisory language toward the Palestinians. For instance, they ‘educate’ a man of about 70 who in error went into the wrong line and make him go back without any real reason, just so that he should do as ordered. He obeys.
One of the soldiers who boasts of violent acts he has done to Palestinians, sees a toilet that a man is carrying through, sits on it laughing. Afterwards he pushes aside people roughly as he passes the line entering Nablus.
The teacher who has a special certificate giving him the right to pass in the shorter line is asked: “What do you teach? What subject?”
In the direction of Nablus, 5 cars were checked per 15 minutes. The last car in line took 50 minutes to pass.
15.25 We leave.