Beit Iba, Sun 23.11.08, Afternoon
"And Quiet Flows the Don" came to mind today. Just how much ruthlessness and humiliation can be practised (and endured) in order to establish Israeli power and control in the Occupied Palestinian Territories? The Occupation continues to "flow" quietly without seeming end. Maybe it's time to write "And Quiet flows the Occupation" which continues to flow without seeming end.
14:15 Beit Iba
No traffic from Deir Sharaf, traffic from Nablus not visible until it arrives at the checking area. All young men are taken from buses. Many, many students fill the lines by the two working turnstiles: one tells us that it took him 35 minutes to get through, which seems about average for today.... The so-called fast lane is also full of women, mainly students, and a number of families with infants.
N., the sergeant commander, stands by the fast lane, although there is also somebody inside the checking booth for people exiting from Nablus. N. checks each ID slowly, but takes time off to tell us where we may, or may not, stand, since, otherwise, we "bother" him. Once again, T., the DCO representative, observes but does nothing.
Of greater interest and concern is the fact that N. makes students take out everything from their fashionable small handbags, often unzipping zippers himself, invading not only the privacy of these young women but surely breaking a taboo regarding what is fit and customary in Palestinian society. Often, the young women students are seen to go on their way, muttering under their breath. N. does not stop with the young women, however: he makes distinguished looking men open up their briefcases fully, as he, N., burrows deep inside with both his hands.
14:35 -- the military policewoman inside the main checking booth calls over to N. at the fast lane, and he goes over to a young man, walks him into the lock up where we can't see, but both emerge after about three minutes. And the young man dons the leather coat that he had to leave as he was "examined." Later, N. is seen frisking a young man in the fast lane, feeling him all over.
14:45 -- we observe a soldier at the checking booth for those coming from Deir Sharaf to Nablus, make a young man empty out his entire bag of clothes, all, of course, having to be put on the dusty ground (No rain here yesterday). A military policewoman comes from the vehicle checking area, telling the soldier that he cannot let us observe this going on. We wonder, aloud, to her as to why she doesn't talk to us directly. Also, we wonder at the authority she's decided to take upon herself. The reason? As we leave, we see N., the commander and T., the DCO representative returning slowly, oh, so slowly, to the checkpoint, having visited (?) the kiosk in Deir Sharaf.