Beit Iba, Huwwara, Jit, Shave Shomron, Mon 8.12.08, Morning
Summary: Fewer restrictions on entry to Nablus; everyone goes through without inspection.
The absurdity of the army: At Huwwara permits to leave aren’t checked, but they are at Beit Iba – Why? Because!
07:10 Jit junction. No checkpoint.
07:15 After the turn to Shavei Shomron, infrastructure has been built for a new checkpoint.
07:30 Beit Iba. There are almost no taxis. The place is completely dead. You can hear the muezzin.
At the entrance for people on foot, there’s new infrastructure for a gate and fence surrounding the area for people on foot. From what we understood, they’re preparing to close the checkpoint and prevent it from being vandalized.
People entering Nablus on foot aren’t checked. The usual inspections of people leaving, no easing of restrictions. But, at the same time, families with small children go through the humanitarian lane, which eases somewhat the shadow cast by the checkpoint over the festivities, and the children’s glances at the soldiers. . Who knows what psychological damage that causes. Today many people go through who don’t usually pass through the checkpoint.
Vehicles entering Nablus aren’t checked, and Israeli vehicles are also allowed in. The drivers, of course, aren’t certain that they’re permitted to go through. They stop, and wait for the familiar hand signal, but there isn’t one. The soldiers don’t care at all that people are waiting, and don’t bother to signal them through. Sometimes it takes the driver a few minutes before he dares to move forward slowly, apprehensively, toward the vacant checkpoint.
On the other hand, no weapons are aimed at the cars going by, so if my son was stationed there I’d be deathly afraid of the soldiers’ complacency.
Many vehicles reach the checkpoint and are turned back. Restrictions on leaving Nablus haven’t been eased at all. If you entered Nablus and don’t have a permit to leave, you have to go out somewhere else. But the Palestinians have heard that it’s possible to leave, so they come. We understood later from the checkpoint commander that they heard that on their radio, particularly that drivers aged 50 or older can go through without a permit, which is also what we understood.
We checked with Rina at Huwwara and understood that vehicle entry permits aren’t being checked there. We spoke to the Humanitarian Center, with Adam, the DCO representative, who didn’t know anything, we weren’t able to reach Zaharani who’s off for Eid-el-Adha. Finally Ronny reached the DCO representative who rudely replied that there has been no change in the procedures of the past 7 years, that no restrictions have been eased, and if people aren’t being checked when they enter that’s a mistake, and he’ll see to it that they will be inspected. Go figure what’s driving him…
When we spoke to the checkpoint commander he confirmed that they don’t inspect at Huwwara, but they do at Beit Iba, he reviewed the instructions this morning, and that’s what they say, and he follows orders. We asked whether he tried to find out why, maybe he could do a better job if he knew, and he said that he couldn’t care less. What’s important is that he does his job like he’s supposed to. We asked whether he at least tells the drivers that they can leave via Huwwara, he said yes, they tell the drivers about Huwwara, a-Sura and Shavei Shomron.
09:10 We left. The checkpoint is more crowded than before. People are dressed festively.