Beit Iba, Thu 30.10.08, Afternoon
Ziona A., Sara K. (reporting) Translator: Charles K.
14:20 Beit IbaHeavy traffic at the checkpoint from all directions:More than 20 vehicles on line to enter Nablus, many trucks.More than half and hour wait.Pedestrians are checked entering Nablus, women as well.Heavy traffic leaving Nablus.The sheds are full of pedestrians. A long line in the lane for women and elderly men as well.Inspection of bags is rigorous in the lines for the men as well as for the women, which greatly slows down people going through.The waiting time in the line for women and elderly men is between 15 minutes and half an hour.The waiting time in the line for younger men is from 45 minutes to an hour.
15:20 The line of vehicles entering Nablus has gotten shorter. 7 cars on line. But the situation changes all the time. Inspections of porters’ carts coming from both directions slows down vehicle inspections and the line immediately lengthens to 15 vehicles.An elderly women carrying a large burden on her head bypasses the line. The soldier insists on seeing her ID card even though she tells him that she’s 75 years old.From time to time people on the women’s line are let through without being checked, except for those carrying packages. The pressure lessens briefly, and then returns.
16:00 A young man tries to go through the women’s line with a bicycle. Two more men try their luck but are sent back to the men’s line. The owner of the bicycle is allowed to leave it on the side. He gets back to them only after waiting in line for an hour.From time to time the soldier checking people entering Nablus goes into the booth to check an ID. He waits there until the check is completed, and meanwhile the line entering Nablus gets longer.A tanker brings water to refill the tanks at the checkpoint with drinking water. The hose connecting the tanker to the tanks has holes in it, and the resulting fountain sprays the people waiting in line to leave Nablus. The soldier stops paying attention and large amounts of excess water pour out of the full tank.“Every drop counts” – not in the IDF.
16:30 The line for the women and elderly men has gotten shorter. But a young man shows up insisting to go through, and delays everyone. The checkpoint commander orders him to move to the men’s line, but he insists in going through the faster line. He finally agreed, but went to the head of the line rather than to the end. The soldiers stop checking people leaving Nablus for a few minutes and the line lengthens. Finally a female MP comes out of the booth and leads him to the detainees pen.Nine vehicles in line to enter Nablus. Checking stops in one of the lanes of people leaving Nablus. Everyone is directed to a single lane for a few minutes.
After a few buses passed through without having young men taken off to be checked, a bus full of students arrives. Everyone has to get off and go over to be checked. They block the lane for women and elderly men, and things straighten out again only a few minutes later.
A jeep arrives and a man in handcuffs gets out. Afterwards four others show up. All of them are “tricklers” who were caught trying to bypass the line. After about 20 minutes the man has his handcuffs removed. The checkpoint commander reports that the entire groups will be released in about an hour.
17:00 The sheds are still half full of men waiting. The exit lane for women and elderly men got shorter and has about 20 people waiting.Eight vehicles at the entry to Nablus.From time to time a wave of pedestrians arrives, going to Nablus. They go through in a few minutes.