Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 19.10.08, Afternoon
Occupation on a whim! Occupation as a fanciful impulse, or whimsical idea. How else can one reconcile the Occupation's rulings or the behavior or those who maintain it? Olives to be picked during a specially designated four day period? A town of 14,000 barricaded with a huge earth mound from one day to the next? Soldiers lounging about, on duty, or kibitzing at a checkpoint in the middle of nowhere as vehicles, Palestinian, of course, are left to their own devices to navigate around one blocked lane? And so on - ad infinitum, or so it seems.
14:00 Shavei Shomron
Although the gate is wide open, the way it's placed, at right angles to the road, it clearly can be closed at a moment's notice. The two bored soldiers tell us that the gate is open from 6:00 to 18:00 every day. Since this is Route 60, a main road, busy with Palestinian traffic - taxis, private cars, trucks - all day - we wonder what happens in an emergency? What happens when somebody needs to get to hospital? The gate is closed, the military camp on the colony of Shavei Shomorn will, or will not, respond to a humanitarian event?
14:15 Beit Iba
A young man and his toddler son wait for his ID to be checked in the central checking area. The fast lane moves quickly, there are at least ten to twelve young men, all students in each of the two turnstile lines. All shoes, belts, watches, etc. have to be removed. The more things change.... first time that a representative of the DCO has been seen for some weeks, the donkey carts and drivers are back at work -- portering.
15:00 -- the usual inconsistent and whimsical nature of the Occupation is alive and well at Beit Iba today. A young man in the fast lane is sent back to wait his turn at the turnstiles.
During the next half hour, the young men in the turnstile lanes increase in number, young men are not checked at all going through the fast lane, but the DCO representative begins to look into the young women's shopping bags. A New Zealand passport provides a bit of a delay and the wonder, on our part, that somebody returns home from so far away to teach at An-Najjah University.