Beit Iba, Wed 3.12.08, Afternoon
15:45 On the way to Beit Iba, immediately past the road to Shavei
Shomron, a double barrier, not manned: Two yellow steel arms and two booths,
indicate a change in the layout of the checkpoint. (Later, the commander tells
us that in about two weeks the Beit Iba checkpoint will be eliminated, so
they’re preparing the steel barriers).
Beit Iba: No cars at all entering. About 10 cars leaving.
The pedestrian checkpoint is also almost empty. Men come through,
putting their belts back on as they walk.
No detainees. 12 people in the shed. Both turnstiles are working.
A bus full of passengers: ID cards taken to be inspected, but, for a
change, the men don’t have to get off the bus.
We run into the commander – 2nd Lieutenant A. – who welcomes
us. He’s also a reservist.
Tomer, the DCO representative, is here. Both of them create a
comfortable atmosphere. “The commander’s spirit” is definitely felt here. We
see how the commander and the soldiers treat the Palestinians. And us as well,
politely. No one is humiliated today, no displays of power, people are spoken
to as equals. That also can happen.
And to our surprise –
Talking with the commander it turns out that his views are extremely
right-wing. He says that his time at the checkpoints moderated them. He
learned to see the Palestinians as human beings. Even so, he’s tending toward
Lieberman, even though he personally respects Tzipi Livni but doesn’t agree with
her views, doesn’t believe in peace. Ready to die rather than return the
It seems that, despite how pleasant he seems – we won’t move him over
to our side. Certainly not now, not here.
Three buses came through in 15 minutes. ID cards were checked, but in
a reasonable amount of time.
Things were different with the fourth bus. All the were taken off, and
checked carefully one at a time. And why? Because the number of people on the
bus didn’t match the number of ID cards. In other words, someone “sneaked
through”… Ten minutes later everyone gets back on and the bus continues on its
way. (We don’t know how the matter was resolved.)
16:25 An ambulance goes through without any inspection.
A bus goes through, again with no problems. One turnstile breaks down
and the shed fills up, but people go through quickly. The commander doesn’t
allow soldiers to smoke at the checkpoint. From time to time he lets a soldier
leave to smoke a cigarette. (something that rarely happens).
Before we say goodbye to the commander, we suggest he watch Haim
Yavin’s report tonight. Unfortunately, he can’t. Too bad.
16:45 We leave for Qalqilya.
17:30 Qalqilya - 10 cars on line to enter the city. Traffic flows
leaving, all of it toward the West Bank.