Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 14.12.08, Afternoon
14:00 Shavei Shomron
Nothing surprising here except that there are cars with Israeli license plates (yellow) passing beyond the checkpoint and no soldiers questioning them or us. We don't venture beyond, but we will! Route 60 seems to have become once again what it once was - a major thoroughfare.
14:35-15:00 Beit Iba
Although the checkpoint is still here, functioning in all its glory, it's as if already irrelevant. Or, that's how the soldiers seem to be treating their assignment today. They are casual in the extreme. Nobody is checked, T., the DCO representative stands at the fast lane where women, mainly students, pass all the time, freely. But a young couple, the wife Israeli, the husband Palestinian, are given a semi hard time (she, obviously, has a blue ID and can, presumably, not come out of Nablus since it's now well past the Eid al Adhar feast). The turnstiles are also fairly relaxed. True, the young men must still remove belts and shoes, but the turnstile lanes move quickly and are pretty empty: never more than ten men in each of the two working lanes. Little traffic in or out of the city. No buses at all while we're there. There's a second lieutenant in command who realizes there'll soon be no checkpoint here, and seems to behave accordingly, wishing to spend his time talking and talking and expounding on his politics. "There is no selection here" he tells our German visitors!