Beit Iba, Jit, Wed 3.9.08, Morning
Summary: At Beit Iba, pedestrians entering Nablus and the humanitarian line exiting were only rarely checked.
Soldiers stand in a place where women have to brush by them, although we remonstrated about this.
Shevut Ami: As in previous weeks, the building is abandoned and the ‘camp' across the road consists of some improvised sheds.
Jit junction: No checkpoint. On the path parallel to the road a military vehicle comes from Hawarra - not clear why.
Beit Iba, 7.40-8.50
As we arrived in Hamdan's white car, the checkpoint commander and a few additional soldiers hurried towards us to question us and to take Hamdan's i.d. Apparently, according to the soldiers, yesterday a similar car burst through the checkpoint from the Nablus direction and escaped.
When we reached the checkpoint, the atmosphere was like Yom Kippur. Not a single vehicle in either direction. Now and again a pedestrian would arrive. Only after 8 o'clock when university opened, a flow started, principally of students.
Pedestrians entering Nablus were on the whole not checked. One could see how people stopped automatically 3 meters in front of the booth and did not know what to do as there was no soldier to beckon to them to advance. Some smiled at us happily. But why? They have turned into checkpoint ‘automatons' who become excited about this small relief.
Also those exiting Nablus in the humanitarian line are only sporadically checked.
- 8.15 A detainee who was taken from a bus exiting Nablus is put in the detainee shed. His i.d. number is in the ‘wanted' list. Tomer, the DCO representative, says it will take up to an hour to get an answer about his case. By the time we left he had still not been released. From our experience, others in his situation were released always after a delay of a few hours.
While we were there, three full buses arrived, mostly with students on their way to Nablus. All the passengers were made to descend and enter on foot, while the buses had to return as they had no permits to enter Nablus. The passengers would have to take taxis to reach their destination. The problem of allotting permits to vehicles to cross the checkpoint causes great difficulty to the population.
In the direction from Nablus a few buses passed with permits. A representative of the bus company was present all the time trying, mainly by approaching Tomer, to ease the passage. From all the buses the men had to descend, i.d.s were gathered, checked, distributed, and then they were allowed to return to the bus. This procedure took 10 minutes.
Most of the time the soldiers were bored. They stood in the narrow passage of the ‘humanitarian' line and chatted. Women passing them had to brush against them. Even for a religiously unobservant woman this is an irritating experience. We remarked on this to the soldiers and one of them even agreed that we were right. They moved to another spot - but which still made for this friction.