Azzun, Beit Iba, Jit, Qalqiliya, Wed 20.8.08, Afternoon
On the way to Beit Iba we stop at the Qalqilya checkpoint.
14:00 Qalqilya. No line at the checkpoint entering the town, but whoever goes through has to stand on a long line inside the town: the road on the other side of the checkpoint is being repaved. Traffic is delayed there, but it still moves.
14:15 A line forms because a soldier "forgot" to give the sign. After he is reminded, traffic moves again.
We continue on our way.
14:25 Azzun. No checkpoint
14:40 The lone house on the hill – opposite it, and a little to the north, settlers set up a sort of summer camp. Their presence threatens the abandoned house. Although they were thrown out of the house, they weren't removed from its vicinity. The camp has become permanent.
14:45 Jit. Free entry to the village. The checkpoint is completely empty. Traffic flows as if there had never been a checkpoint here.
14:55 Beit Iba. No line of cars entering, nor exiting.
A line of about 15 pedestrians waiting to enter, but only their documentst are checked quickly, . 10 people in the shed at the exit from Nablus. One turnstile is operating. The humanitarian lane is empty. Occasionally someone passes through, almost without being checked. No detainees.
We talked to a student. Officially, he said, classes already began on Sunday (17.8.08), but today they actually began (we wonder how crowded it will be tomorrow).
15:00 About 20 people waiting in the shed. For some reason, checking has been stopped.
A minibus with passengers stops to be checked, but a minute later passes through without having been examined at all.
15:05 Everything is empty; only a few people left in the shed, and the line moves quickly.
An ambulance stops to be checked, but continues without having been examined.
15:10 The shed fills up a little. Tami talks to Tomer, the DCO representative. The second turnstile is opened.
Two young men in the humanitarian line, each holding a baby under a pink cover. The mother follows behind them. I asked permission to photograph them, but the mother, smiling, refused.
A woman, dressed all in black, only her eyes showing, is passed through without being checked (maybe they know her).
Vehicle traffic flows freely in both directions.
We count the number of soldiers at the empty checkpoint: 13 military personnel (including MP's, DCO, etc.).
The commander jokes with us, asking (with a complicit wink): "Maybe you could bring cakes for us? Or at least ice cream bars!..."
We leave for 'Anabta.