Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 12.10.08, Afternoon
The word "jaded" is usually associated with a bored upper class, but there's no getting away from it, the Occupation has made the soldiers of the IDF both jaded and cynical: they are dulled by a surfeit of inane rules and regulations and are, as we saw particularly today, drained and weary of the excessive effort needed to keep the Occupation going.
14:00 Shavei Shomron
We sail past the former checkpoint outside the colony of Shavei Shomron where a bored soldier sits beneath his camouflage netting and a bus awaits a group of soldiers obviously leaving for the upcoming holiday. The road beyond is almost empty of traffic, and the parched countryside bears a remarkable similarity to the beauty of Tuscany. After a while, we turn back and on to Beit Iba
14:45 Beit Iba
Before the checkpoint proper, we meet two men, the first telling us of receipt of a magnetic card but refusal of a permit (the wisdom of Occupation ) and the other, a much older man, asking, rhetorically, whether any of us can ever imagine life without Occupation....
The kiosk has been painted green, almost a jade green.... maybe helping
us to conceptualize today at the checkpoints!
In the center of the checkpoint, four soldiers stand around, no, hang together, as if in an American football huddle, refuse to acknowledge our greeting or our presence. At the unmanned window for people wanting to enter Nablus, there's a new notice, of the kind seemingly favored in the OPT: on a piece of crudely cut out cardboard, a handwritten notice, in Hebrew, stating that "Entry for Israelis is forbidden," together with the international "No entry" sign.
Only about 20 young men in the turnstile lanes, and the fast lane moves quickly, but there's no consistency in the checking. Some young women are stopped, sometimes a bag is looked into, sometimes there's a non-stop flow of women and older men passing, at other times the soldier shouts, "One at a time, one at a time." As usual, everything is "designed" (?) to keep everybody, everybody Palestinian that is, off balance.
A white Mercedes fails to pass the test to pass the checkpoint to leave Nablus and turns round in the middle of the checkpoint. A bus, full of students, returning from university in Nablus, waits for at least ten minutes as a large pile of green IDs is taken from inside. The woman MP inside the vehicle checking booth checks each ID against a list. This task completed, she then takes the pile of IDs with her to the main checking booth, one must assume for yet more checking - against the computer as against a list! The bus starts up its engine as the woman MP ambles back with the huge stack of IDs, while chewing vigorously on her chewing gum. Now that the bus has departed and there's little work to be done, the commander fondles the helmet of the woman MP.