Beit Iba checkpoint
09:45 Nati, the checkpoint commander, Tomer, DCO representative and eight soldiers are on the shift. One detainee, about an hour in the pen.
Because it’s late there aren’t many people at the checkpoint. When we arrived Nati came over to me to clarify procedures, and remind me of them: “You’re only permitted to stand here!” “No photographing, you hear?” etc., etc. After I while I notice that he’s taking pictures of us, and photograph him photographing us. He doesn’t prevent me from doing so, and doesn’t say a word. At 10:30 the detainee is released.
A mother and son, aged 20, arrive at the checkpoint. They live in Tel Sheva, and have blue ID cards. The mother, born in Nablus, has come to the funeral of her mother, who died last night. Nati lets the mother through, but not the son. He orders him to wait for his mother until she returns from the funeral. The son is beside himself. Remains calm, begs his mother to go on; he’ll be alright. We called Tomer from the humanitarian office – both mother and son have diabetes. The mother also has a heart condition. We also called the IDF press office and the DCO. Nothing helped. Tomer, the DCO representative, gets stubborn, responds rudely and insensitively to the family’s sorrow and suffering. “Just go home!” he tells the son. Finally we convince the mother to go through and arrange to take the son to Huwwara where he says he’ll try to go through and join his mother.
Throughout our shift at Beit Iba, Nati is rude and inflexible, tries to impose his authority, not at all nice. He even shared with me what’s bothering him. “I live in Sderot, for years we’ve been suffering from Qassam rockets, the past two weeks have been full of them, every time one falls I feel like tearing these people apart. If I could, right now I’d really give it to all of them.” I asked how the man in the blue short waiting to go through is to blame? Did he fire Qassams at you?” “What difference does it make whether it’s him or not, it’s his people and they’re all guilty.” I asked whether he’d want to be punished for something done by someone else. He says that it’s not the same thing. “Why am I to blame for living in Sderot?”