Beit Iba, Tue 23.9.08, Afternoon
Beit Iba, Qalqilya, Tuesday 23.9.08 afternoon
Observers: Beit Iba
15:15 – Restrictions eased for Ramadan: no document checks for people entering or leaving via the humanitarian lane.
Israeli vehicles may enter and leave. Those leaving are checked. Those entering divide into two lanes: those in the humanitarian lane are not checked; those in the regular lane are checked. We weren’t able to understand the basis on which they’re divided.
On buses leaving Nablus, passengers are checked while on the bus.
We saw no detainees.
It took half an hour for every one to go through the two regular lines with the turnstiles and the metal detectors – despite the fact that it didn’t look as if more than 20 men were waiting on each line.
The DCO representative had to intervene when a boy younger than 16 arrived without his parents or a “certificate.” He was warned, and then allowed through.
He again had to intervene when an Israeli resident of Tira decided to take advantage of the eased restrictions for Ramadan in order to visit Nablus – for the first time in his life, he said. He, his wife and infant daughter drove to Qalqilya and, when they couldn’t enter, followed the signs, he said, in the direction of Nablus. It turns out that he drove off the “sterile” road without knowing about it, and without running into anyone. When they asked him at the checkpoint what road he took, he described the way he came in all innocence. The soldier made do with checking his ID, but the checkpoint commander got all excited and contacted the GSS. The driver had to wait for the GSS to get back to them to interrogate him. After half an hour, when nothing happened, we began pressing the checkpoint commander to allow them to pass – waiting in the heat with a baby – and only after the DCO representative made a call was the commander told to release them.
17:30 – We wanted to verify the claim that Israeli vehicles aren’t allowed to enter, despite the easing of restrictions on Israelis going to Tulkarm, ‘Anabta and Beit Iba. We found that all the Israeli vehicles were required to park outside. We were told that they were only allowed in for one day at the beginning of the week, and the next day were forbidden to do so.