Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 15.2.09, Afternoon
A number is a mathematical object used in counting and measuring, and tallying seems to have been the theme of today's shift, which took place, not in the desert, or wilderness (Book of Numbers) but in the OPT.
13:30 Shavei Shomron
The checkpoint outside the colony has changed once again. The soldiers now stand in the middle of the roadway, which is "sensibly" cut in two with a large concrete barrier down the center. That means that the previous obstacle course, for passing Palestinian vehicles, has been superseded, and there's now one lane in each direction.
14:00 Beit Iba
Two representatives of the DCL here today, one, N., ask us to tell him of problems, or, more often than not, asks us if everything is ok. Often seven soldiers at the vehicle checking area, including military police and a DCL representative, and often more presence of the Occupier than of the Occupied! So, not much traffic in either direction. No one can tell why there are fewer pedestrians or less traffic (not one full size bus) than in the past. "That's good," we're told! There's a strong wind, giving the soldiers' berets a tendency to come loose. At one point, one of the vehicle checking soldiers carries four helmets back to the vehicle checking area, but they decorate the concrete boulders there, and are not put on.
The soldier in the so-called fast lane looks into five plastic bags of two women, one of whom is completely shrouded. All women, as well as men, are checked against the GSS (General Security Service) list, held in the soldier's hand. If a man is too young for the fast lane, he's sent back to take his place at the turnstiles. Everything is correct and inhumane... A man with an eye problem, who tells the soldier he's 40 years old, is about to be sent back when one of the DCL representatives intervenes, and he passes as the fast lane becomes slower with more people coming from Nablus.
The line of male students numbers from ten to twenty-five. One turnstile working, all have to take off belts, There is one hard-to-see detainee, he's "Bingo." And we get no further in getting answers to questions at the end of our shift although forty five minutes into our shift, there are numerous phone calls and huddles between the commander and the DCL representative.
Two vehicle checking lanes from Nablus open, but only an occasional pick up truck or car or two every few minutes, an occasional donkey cart, in its own lane, of course, besides which the checkpoint area is now littered with two vertical poles, lying on the ground, a broken chair and a tipsy sign at the vehicle checking area. (All was new just a year ago).
14:25 -- nothing from the Deir Sharaf direction,, but ten minutes later, there's a line, and an Israeli car (yellow license plates) is made to turn round in the middle of the checkpoint. No entrance for Israelis to the city....