Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 2.11.08, Afternoon
Perhaps the army of occupation has not yet arrived at the most sophisticated techniques of repression and indoctrination involved in "re-education," but the soldiers are most certainly involved in behavior modification of the Palestinians who need to cross checkpoints and in the watchers who monitor what goes on there. Today was a good example of consequences being dependent on the behaviors manifested by both groups. There is little doubt that there are certain behaviors that soldiers want to reinforce,
13:15 Junction of 60 and 55
On the road sign, Nablus (the Arab name for Hebrew Schem) is crossed out and what's written instead, in proper printed lettering, is "Sa Nur." (One of the disengaged settlements on Route 60, near the other one, Homesh).
13:20 Shavei Shomron
We stop the car to monitor passing traffic going through the open gate. A soldier comes over to us, saying we cannot stand there. (The same words as at Qalqiliya, with our response also being the same). While telling us off, he holds up all Palestinian traffic trying to cross the barrier northwards, towards Jenin.
14:15 Beit Iba
On our arrival, the line of vehicles in either direction is not long. From Deir Sharaf, no more than four at this hour, but an hour later, the line is endlessly long. The soldiers at Beit Iba are new, are very, very slow and make no concessions to the increasing press of people or of traffic. There's one young man in the detention compound, but five minutes later, he's no longer there.
Although T., the DCO representative is there, he deals or deals not, as the case may be with facilitating passage of people or cars but spends most of his time on his phone. A car's papers are not in order, a soldier asks T. for advice, he shakes his head, and the car has to head back into Nablus.
From Deir Sharaf, each person's ID is checked against the hand held Shabak (General security Services) list; sometimes the soldier takes it across to the central checking booth, regardless of the age of the man presenting it.
At times, the fast lane, of women and teachers, doctors ,etc. is longer than the line at the turnstiles where there are often only two to three students. Although the fast lane proceeds as it should, it's noticeable that when a woman does not have her ID out, the soldier will insist that she open her bag and take it out for him to peruse!
14:30 -- the commander, a second lieutenant, stands with a sergeant, in the central checking area, and they converse for the next twenty five minutes, taking absolutely no notice of anything going on around them. Maybe it's a briefing, but a briefing which has nothing to do with facts on the ground (a perfect analogy with what goes on higher up too)!
14:40 -- in bright sunshine, the lights now go on, and life continues.
Each bus, coming from Nablus, large or small, has to disgorge all its young men. Once more, a military policewoman, chewing gum, is in charge of having the young men pirouette and lift up their shirts. But she does more: she lines them up, points her finger and counts - just to make sure that the IDs, held by a regular soldier, standing next to her, IDs that have already been checked against the GSS list and/or the computer inside the main checking area, match up to the young men standing, helplessly, before her. Having done this, she proceeds to have each person role up his jeans - to show a leg! Disgusting, but neither the commander nor the DCO representative take any notice of this sad scene which occurs over and over.
15:00 -- four soldiers now talking in the vehicle checking area as the line from Deir Sharaf now stretches as far as the eye can see. The Palestinians can wait - and wait: today's behavior modification.