Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Tue 26.8.08, Morning
08:15 Beit Iba
Cars seem to be going through without any particular problems.
About 20 people on line to enter. Most are young. The notebooks they're carrying indicate that they're probably students.
Two soldiers check those entering, comparing their ID's with a list. When there's a problem with one of the names, one of the soldiers goes over to the other booth and checks it on the computer. The line moves reasonably quickly.
Women (most of them students) and elderly men go through the humanitarian lane.
One detainee. We're told that his name was on the list of wanted persons, and he's being checked.
08:35 The soldiers doing the checking disappear- they went to drink something. While they're gone the line gets longer. Now 30-40 people are waiting.
08:45 Only one soldier returned to check those entering. That's how it remains until the end of our shift. Things go very slowly. The humanitarian line also operates only intermittently. In order to reach it the women have to make a space for themselves very near the men's line, which definitely makes them uncomfortable. The soldier in the booth whose checking those entering behaves in a supercilious, contemptuous manner. He yells at them to hurry up. Also checks elderly people who reach him, even though he could have let them through. Meanwhile the DCO representative, A, tries to pass women and the elderly through the humanitarian lane. When the soldier thinks that he let through someone who was too young, he yells at him, and an argument develops. The checkpoint commander comes over to find out what's going on. In general, his presence is barely felt. When the line gets long he doesn't really try to solve the problem by adding more soldiers, or even – how awful – by coming over himself to help move the line along while the soldiers are eating their breakfast.
A youth with a large plastic bag is turned back. It turns out that the bag held 14 pairs of pants. The DCO representative explains to us that that's a commercial quantity. It is truly inconceivable that an amount like this could enter Nablus via the Beit Iba checkpoint. It's also a clear security danger.
09:20 Checking is still slow. Only one soldier checks those entering. People wait in line for 10-15 minutes.
The soldier doing the checking must keep going over to the other booth to check the computer. Meanwhile, everyone waits. The detainee, though, has been released. Now a taxi driver is detained, being punished for crossing over the line…
10:00 We saw cars driving toward Shavei Shomron – Route 60, and went to look. The checkpoint is in fact open, and passage to Jenin is unimpeded.