Beit Iba, Thu 16.10.08, Afternoon
14:10 Karnei Shomron: The checkpoint is open and traffic flows freely.
14:15 Beit Iba: Vehicle and pedestrian traffic flows.
Pedestrians entering Nablus aren’t checked.
in the shed for pedestrians there are two lines for young men , a few dozen people waiting in each. According to the Palestinians, the wait time is about 15-20 minutes.
There is a separate line for women and elderly men. Many are inspected quickly. People with packages are inspected more carefully.
3 vehicles waiting to enter Nablus. All go through in a few minutes.
A female MP comes out of the booth and starts yelling at A., the DCO representative. It turns out that she had yelled at a young Palestinian. The DCO representative investigated what was going on, and released the young man. She was angry at him because, she said, he’s behaving like his “defense attorney.”
14:30 The shift changes. Inspections are delayed for a few minutes until the new shift gets organized. While this is going on the female MP’s and the soldiers yell at each other.
There’s a line of ten vehicles waiting to enter Nablus. Inspections in one of the pedestrian lanes for young men, and the lane for the women resume after 5 minutes. The second lane only resumes operation a few minutes later, but the soldier on duty manages to work quickly and the line gets shorter.
15:00 The checkpoint is getting more crowded. From time to time buses arrive, carrying students. All get off, and their ID’s are taken. Soldiers check the bus and the students are called back on one by one and receive their ID’s. The procedure takes about 10 minutes.
A bus carrying women, celebrating on their way to a wedding, goes through without delay.
15:30 The women’s line has become very crowded, and you can’t see the end. Women claim they’ve been waiting on line for half an hour. A university professor says that he moved from the women’s line to that of the men because his students let him go through without waiting on line, and he gets through more quickly.
Every few minutes another bus arrives carrying students who have to be checked at the checkpoint.
16:00 The women’s line moves very slowly. The soldiers aren’t able to reduce it, and the wait is longer than on the line for young men, even though it has also become more crowded and the sheds are almost full. Those waiting on the line for women and older men are losing patience and press forward, and the soldier calls to them to move back.
16:15 The soldier checking one of the men’s lines goes on a break, and no one replaces him for more than 10 minutes, and so the line gets longer. One of the female soldiers in the inspection stall finally replaces him.
A physician joins the women’s line and asks to go through without waiting, claiming he’s on his way to the hospital in Qalqilya. He says they made him get out of a taxi after he sat waiting in it for a long time, and now he’s being made to wait again. An argument develops between him and the checkpoint commander, who is angry at the doctor’s harsh speech. He takes the doctor’s ID card and detains him on the side. After a few minutes the doctor is allowed to continue on his way.
16:35 The checkpoint commander opens another lane for women and elderly men, because the crowding hasn’t been reduced at all. The line gets shorter only after half an hour, the delays caused mostly because of many female students going through carrying handbags that had to be inspected.
17:00 The lane for women and elderly men has gotten less crowded. The men’s lane is still crowded, but the wait time is reasonable and they go through in half an hour.
Vehicles are checked and go through within a few minutes.
We left the checkpoint.