Beit Iba, Mon 1.9.08, Morning
7:50 Beit Iba
All the kiosks are closed, of course, because Ramadan has started. There are fewer people near the taxis. When we reached the area where cars are checked we notice that while people are not being made to get off the buses (not young men either), which is, allegedly, a concession, all the ID cards are collected and checked against the list while the bus stands in the main lane and delays the inspection of other vehicles. In answer to our question why the bus isn't moved over to the side, which would allow other cars to go through, we were told that there's a shortage of soldiers to do the checking. It takes about 10 minutes to check a bus, and during this time ten cars are added to the line. A number of cars are checked quickly until another bus arrives and again holds up the line for more than 10 minutes.
A., the DCO representative, and S, the checkpoint commander, are aware of the special instructions issued by the Civil Authority for Ramadan (try to move people through as quickly as possible, don't hold detainees for more than an hour, keep certain checkpoints - such as Shavei Shomron - open longer, don't eat in the presence of Palestinians, etc.). Both try to solve problems, but aren't particularly creative... The porter with the jeans is made to unload all of them on the road to be inspected, then he's told that he can't go through the checkpoint because it's a commercial quantity, and finally, after the DCO representative intervenes, he goes through.
The inspection in the pedestrian lane is quick, and no line forms.
9:15 We leave.