Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 30.11.08, Afternoon
The students with their armfuls of books, the professionals returning home from a day's work, the mothers who've gone shopping with small children, the infirm who seek medical help - all just want to live their lives. Of course, we can blame the soldiers at the checkpoints for the misery and humiliation the Palestinians are made to endure. But that's missing the point. It's not just the soldiers that their duties corrupt but an entire country.
13:15 Shavei Shomron
Sparse but freely flowing traffic in both directions, but soldiers now on the lookout. As we approach, a soldier leaves his camouflage netting below the lookout tower, approaches the car, as if to bar our way. We turn the car around, as intended, another soldier approaches, "Say ‘hi' to Beit Iba."
14:100 Beit Iba
From Nablus, two long lines of vehicles waiting to be checked. The checking is laborious, each ID being checked against a list and the driver's permit. Porters' barrows checked carefully, the trunks of taxis examined, an SUV carrying "Press, TV" signs also. A bus usually stands for five minutes. In one case, it is the driver who is taken off (not the passengers). Often the military policewoman takes the documents from the driver, chats with her soldier colleague before sauntering off for further checking at the central checking area. A car trying to enter Nablus is examined for several minutes and is told to turn around and go back. Otherwise not much traffic from Deir Sharaf.
14:15 -- the long lines of students in both the fast lane and in the one working turnstile lane seem to have dissipated in the last fifteen minutes. In the fast lane, every single man, whatever his age and however professionally dressed, is thoroughly checked - by a soldier, not a robot!
The DCO representative takes time out, for over half an hour, he leans nervously and miserably in the central checking area by the MW demarcated position.