Beit Iba, Sun 9.11.08, Afternoon
A short and not at all sweet shift. All over the OPT, particularly outside the Jewish colonies, the garish, fluorescent coloured printed signs, declaring that "Jewish soldiers are for Jews." In the Hebrew, it's clear that the Jews in question are male. And, indeed, the soldiers today are decidedly not for Jewish women who happen to be MachsomWatchers -- but violently against them.
14:45 Beit Iba
We're hardly stationed at our usual spots before N., the very new sergeant commander introduces himself and tells us that we can only stand in one little square: everything else bothers him, and he has no interest in hearing how long we've been at the checkpoint standing elsewhere than where he indicates. The DCO representative, A., comes over to listen to our being told off, says nothing. We note that all soldiers are helmetless on our arrival and that most don their helmets when they see us! The commander also dons his flack vest.... He continues to harass us, saying that where we stand "bothers me... and I've asked you to move." We continue our watch, and he proceeds to come over and take our photos.
Trying to get into Nablus, six to eight trucks and private cars. One of the trailer trucks, bearing Israeli (yellow) license plates, carries a container bearing the name "Holly Hills, South Carolina!" It's not checked at all and lumbers its way into Nablus. Coming out of Nablus, there are two lanes in use, one for trucks and buses, the other for private cars. This means that an ambulance coming from Deir Sharaf has to wait, and it takes three minutes or more before the soldiers let it pass, in a line that has been blocked with vehicles coming from the other direction. Checking of one bus coming out of Nablus takes at least eight minutes.
15:15 -- no vehicles from the Deir Sharaf direction, fewer from Nablus. A lot of students passing the checkpoint quite quickly, although the fast lane often has as many people in it as the turnstile lanes.
When we leave and pass the kiosk at Deir Sharaf, the owner, who's usually not given to talking much about the soldiers, says that these new soldiers are "disgusting" and "very strict."