Beit Iba, Wed 5.11.08, Afternoon

Observers: 
Sarah P., Tami C. Translator: Charles K.
05/11/2008
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Afternoon

14:50  We arrived at the Beit Iba checkpoint; traffic
is quiet, 5 cars waiting to enter Nablus are checked rapidly, an ambulance goes
through quickly, a bus most of whose passengers are students on their way home
stands at the exit from Nablus.  Here’s the drill:  women remain seated on the
bus and the men get off and wait to be inspected; the driver collects their ID
cards and after they are checked one by one gets them back and returns to the
bus.  Women are checked on the bus, the whole business takes 10-15 minutes. 
The exit line is short.

One detainee in the pen, waiting for his ID to be
checked; after a short inquiry he’s released.

At the exit from Nablus
(the entrance to the checkpoint) only one turnstile was operating; there were
only a few people.

At the entrance set aside for women and people with special privileges
there was a constant flow of people going through, subject only to random
checks.  Very important:  when we arrived at the checkpoint we asked A’asham,
the DCO representative, about the morning’s events [at Ra’aya’s request].  We
received a learned explanation about a youth caught with weapons, detained, and
after a few hours in detention sent home.  When we asked how “a terrorist could
be treated so negligently,” the response was a shrug. 

15:20  Another bus arrives from Nablus
and undergoes the same procedure.  By the way, a few days ago there were photos
that Nur took of the same place, and you can see what happens…

15:40  We hear voices, people running after an MP; we were told it was
a drill.

15:45  A man was detained and taken to the closed booth to be carefully
inspected.  When we asked what his “crime” was, we were told that he didn’t
behave properly during the drill when they tried to push everyone out of the
shed; he didn’t hurry to get out so they checked him very carefully and “taught
him a lesson”….

15:45  When more people arrived another turnstile was opened.

The bottom line is that the commander M. ran the terrible routine efficiently and
politely.

As we were leaving, two Palestinians who live in Nablus and leave every morning to work in
Netanya asked that the checkpoint be opened on time in the morning [at 5 am]. 
Today it opened after 6, they were late to work and had their pay docked. 
Together we went over to the DCO representative and asked him to forward our
complaint.  He promised to do so, and we suggest that people on morning shifts
in the future see whether they keep to the timetable.

At 16:10 we left this depressing place.