Beit Iba, Tue 3.2.09, Afternoon

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Maki S., Didika Y. (guest), Meirav A. (reporting) Translator: Charles K.


Few people going through, about
20 young men on the men’s line waiting to be checked at any one time. 
People on the line for women and elderly men are checked quickly, and
usually no line forms.

An army jeep on patrol arrives
at the checkpoint, with the ID card of a the driver of a Palestinian
vehicle.  They say the vehicle interfered with traffic, and they
want the driver detained.  They take down the driver’s information,
and then the checkpoint commander delivers a lecture – “You’re
in the way; this time I’ll let you go, but next time I’ll hold you
for 8 hours, for 12 hours or for two days.” The driver’s released
after the lecture.

The people on the young men’s
line are inspected carefully – they remove belts, shoes, expose their
belly and their back, and their ankles, pass back and forth in stockinged
feet through the magnemometer.  The content of their bags is removed
for inspection.  They finish going through the line holding up
their trousers so they won’t fall down, the contents of their bags
in their hands, and stand on the far side of the turnstile to put themselves
in order again.  The checkpoint commander chases them away. 
Apparently they must get dressed again and arrange their belongings
while they are still walking to insure the security of the state
of Israel.

A new vehicle arrives from
Nablus to be checked.  But the vehicle doesn’t have a permit
to go through.  It’s turned back.  “Sayyara mam’nu’a,”
the female soldier explains to the driver in checkpoint Arabic.

A taxi driver is detained. 
The soldiers tell us he’s a “bingo,” on the GSS wanted list. 
His passengers prefer to wait for him rather than continue on foot or
find another taxi.  After about an hour he’s released. 
Apparently he wasn’t a “bingo” after all.

The checkpoint commander isn’t
pleased with our presence.  He repeatedly tries to chase us away
to “our corner.” Tries to prevent us from photographing at the
checkpoint.  He searches among his papers for the order prohibiting
us from photographing, but doesn’t find it.  He also tries to
return us to our proper place in society, and not only at the checkpoint: 
“Are you bored?  Instead of taking care of the house, the family,
the children, you’re doing this?”