Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Thu 15.1.09, Morning
8:20 Shave Shomron - The checkpoint is manned, no line from the south, a short line from the north, but to pass the cars have to go through a slalom run of three turns past plastic barriers. The same soldier we already saw "educating" drivers is here again, and every car has to slow down to hear what he has to say to them. Meanwhile, a line begins forming from the north, and a car comes from the south. The soldier (who appears to be the checkpoint commander, because he has an antenna on his back) only lets cars from the north go through. A line begins forming from the south.
A bus arrives and stops for inspection, when from behind a military automobile appears, blowing its horn for the bus to move forward. The bus is stuck in the inspection and can't move. Now the soldier in the car begins yelling over a loudspeaker, "Yallah yallah move." The bus is finally allowed to move and carefully drives through the slalom course, while the military car passes it, outside the lane and turns into the base.
The line from the south keeps getting longer but the soldiers still aren't letting cars through from the south, as if they don't see them waiting. When, after 20 minutes, we called it to their attention, the educator "thanked" us for doing so. We moved away and waited at a distance to see whether it was all done to annoy us (that's how we felt, for some reason, even without having spoken to the soldiers). Now the cars from the north are going through very quickly, but none yet are being let through from the south. We phoned the humanitarian office and complained. When we called them again later they said they didn't know which checkpoint we were talking about and didn't do anything. It's really annoying, since they could have asked us when we spoke to them which checkpoint we were talking about. Of course we explained that it's the checkpoint on Route 60, at the entrance to the base at Shave Shomron, but our female soldiers aren't familiar with the map, and don't know right from left. How they're supposed to solve problems - only the lord of military hosts knows the answer.
As we stood on the roadside to see what happens an army jeep arrives, belonging to the lords of the land, and drives up to the checkpoint on the exit road in such a way that the Palestinian car coming toward it, in the correct lane, has to back up for dozens of yards so that it can proceed!
After about a quarter of an hour, we continued on our way.
9:00 Beit Iba
Ten cars on line leaving Nablus; they go through quickly. No lines of people on foot, and few people going through at all. We're told it's the last day of university vacation, but not many families or other ordinary people are going through either.