Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Wed 20.8.08, Morning
The army doesn't stop and check cars traveling on Route 60. According to a resident of Deir Sharaf, its pedestrians "they sometimes make trouble for." We saw no pedestrians, and couldn't wait around because the soldiers were very jumpy and didn't let us park by the side of the road. Since traffic flowed freely, we preferred not to argue with them.
07:45 Beit Iba
There are 8 cars waiting to be checked entering the city, which is more than in previous weeks. Relatively few pedestrians for this time of day, because there aren't classes at the university. A taxi driver who went over the line is put in the detainee's shed. The arrest is made quietly and calmly, the driver accepts his fate (isolation and forced idleness, lost hours of work). We popped into the Maya Laundry adjacent to the checkpoint. Because of the complicated process involved in manufacturing jeans, the laundry provides a good vantage point on the flow of traffic in the western part of Nablus and the economic damage caused by the checkpoint. Hundreds of jeans are sewn in Nablus every day. The sewing shops send them to the Maya Laundry, on the outskirts of Deir Sharaf, to be dyed. After dying they return to Nablus for ironing, and finally leave the city via the merchandise terminal at Awarta. Remember that the laundry in Deir Sharaf is only a few kilometers from the factory in Nablus. Ever since draconian limitations were imposed on truck traffic passing through the Beit Iba checkpoint, the trucks unload the jeans on the Nablus side of the checkpoint, and they are transferred to donkey carts. We didn't see the carts at all recently, and wanted to know why. When we arrived, the owner hadn't come yet, and his assistant said that they'd been directed to the Awarta merchandise terminal for the intermediate dying process as well. That's just crazy, because Awarta is located east of Nablus, and the detour costs them at least another hour of travel each way.
Now, with the opening of Shavei Shomron, the distance has been reduced, but they still hope to receive authorization to drive directly through the Beit Iba checkpoint. To our surprise, we were told that the DCO representative at the checkpoint who is responsible for issuing permits (his name is Rami) visited the laundry and promised to solve the problem. Since then they've been trying to go through, but are refused nine out of ten attempts. We asked why Rami didn't issue the laundry an official authorization? The assistant didn't know the answer.