Beit Iba, Jit, Shave Shomron, Wed 27.8.08, Morning
07:30 When we arrived there were 8 cars on line to enter Nablus, and 5 to exit. That's a lot, compared to what we're used to seeing (in a city of more that 150,000 inhabitants, and together with the district, more than 300,000!). Inbal said that they must be giving out more entry permits to cars to go through the checkpoint. I wish!
08:00 A soldier with weapon drawn leads a detainee: first to the shed, and immediately afterwards across the road, to a taxi (his, it turns out), and after a long discussion, and with the intervention of the checkpoint commander, he takes out a jack and starts removing the wheels. According to the commander, he drove on a military road where Palestinians are forbidden to drive, so his car will be rigorously examined, including the wheels. We left 45 minutes later, and the examination was still underway.
A taxi driver complains to us about maltreatment by the police. A policeman pulled him over when he passed a truck on a road without a solid white center line, took his license and said, "I feel like giving you a 1000 shekel traffic ticket." He got the (unlawful) ticket, and paid. He was then told that his license is being confiscated because he has an unpaid ticket from 1999. It was for NIS 750, and has grown by now to NIS 3825. He said that the policeman who gave him the ticket cancelled it right away, and gave him a document confirming the cancellation. He didn't save it, because in 2000 all traffic tickets were transferred to the Palestinian Authority for collection, and it cancelled them. He can't afford to pay the ticket, he has no work, which is in any case in short supply, because they confiscated his license. We asked Haya O.'s advice. She said that his claim that all tickets were cancelled isn't correct. We asked how, during the nine years since the original ticket, he didn't get any warning? Its clear, said Haya. Since the Intifada there's no postal service in the territories (for Palestinians, that is). Therefore, the police are not obligated to send a warning, and just doubles, triples, etc., the amount of the fine. Do Palestinians in the territories have any fundamental rights at all?!! Nor is there anyone to complain to!
On the other hand, a year ago youths from Kedumim threw rocks at his vehicle and broke the window. Army and police vehicles stood nearby. He went over to them, pointed to the window and to the youths, and was told, "File a complaint tomorrow with the police." And who says the police don't treat settlers and Palestinians equally?
A wave of pedestrians appears from time to time at the entrance to Nablus. Women and elderly men aren't checked. The rest are also checked quickly. Few come from Nablus at this time of day. Young men, as usually, have their belongings checked and pass through the magnemometer, removing belts and sometimes shoes as well. When a bus arrives the young men are taken off and checked near the bus door.
08:45 We left.
07:15 A military vehicle stands on the side of the road facing Huwwara, but it doesn't look as if he's stopping cars.
Shvut Ami – As in recent weeks, the house looks deserted, but in the grove across the road (that belongs to Palestinians) some settlers are running a sort of summer camp.
Shavei Shomron – 08:50 At the place where a checkpoint stood for the past three years, we pass through easily in the direction of Sabastiya and back. No soldiers are visible.