Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Mon 16.2.09, Morning
Since there had been complaints
that the checkpoint at Beit Iba had opened at 6:30, instead of 5:00,
on Sunday, we decided to go early.
6:05 – J'it Junction was
6:15 – Today, according to
both the Palestinians and the soldiers, the checkpoint at Beit Iba opened
at 5:00. The soldiers said that there had been a problem on Sunday.
An unending stream of cars,
trucks, taxis and buses at the entrance to Nablus, no inspections.
At the exit, there were 2 lines for cars. We counted about 10
cars whose passage took about 7 minutes each.
Checking of IDs and sometimes
even the baggage compartment. A bus at the exit was inspected
by a female soldier who entered the bus with a soldier and checked IDs
against a list, but didn't make the passenger get off the bus.
At the pedestrian checkpoint
the commander, A., greeted us and asked that we speak only with him.
The soldiers were regular conscripts who were only at the checkpoint
for 2 days.
At the early hour, there weren't
many people entering, more were leaving Nablus on their way to work.
One one turnstile was operating and a line formed. When another
line opened, we counted 3-4 people going through each station in 5 minutes.
The line soon dissolved, but
there was a continuous stream of people leaving. The metal detector
didn't stop beeping and they had to take off their belts and sometimes
their shoes. Every bag was inspected.
In the humanitarian line older
men went through and women. They checked IDs and sometimes bags.
People started entering Nablus,
mainly students; no inspections. A military jeep whose driver
stopped for a short conversation with another soldier at the checkpoint
held up the traffic going in and a line of 15 cars formed immediately.
The jeep moved and the line slowly lessened.
We left Beit Iba after drinking
coffee and eating halva at the kiosk of our friend, Mahmud.
7:40 Shavey Shomron checkpoint
This checkpoint opened a few
months ago, in the framework of "easements" and allowed free
travel from Jenin and Nablus in the direction of Qalqilya and Tulkarm,
but it closed at 18:00 and opened again at 07:00. We visited there
every week in order to make sure that it was really open. During
the last month, we found that there were frequently very long lines
and they even prevented us from approaching, so we couldn't really see
the lines. There were also strange attempts to narrow the road,
which was already quite narrow, by putting up blocks and barbed wire.
Today we found that everything
had gone back to its previous state, except that there was an extra
guard station. The cars went through freely and the soldiers didn't
know why we had come there, because "Here everything is OK."
We continued to Anabta.