Beit Iba, Sun 8.3.09, Afternoon
The week end NY Times/International Herald Tribune had an article about "sand and rocks" which "might seem like trivial resources" in the OPT. Not only is more and more of the land gone, but more and more of the "sand and rocks" are quarried by Israeli companies and sold in Israel for building materials. So, finally, we have an insight into the eternal persistence of the Beit Iba checkpoint, right next to a quarry that never ceases operation and neighboring on nearly a dozen others in the immediate vicinity. The capitalist economics of Occupation benefit the Occupier, take no heed of its army's wellbeing in this dust filled environment, while continuing to brandish the idea of a new checkpoint near the turn off to the colony of Shavei Shomron on Route 55, or to assemble an improved and upgraded checkpoint at Anabta.
13:40 near Shavei Shomron
The "new" checkpoint, which, as one of the locals at Deir Sharaf tells, "has been promised for years," is more or less dismantled, but the road has been made wider, perhaps to create four lanes out of the rut filled present two, the work incomplete and not a soul in sight who might be doing anything to get on with it.
14:00 Beit Iba
What's characteristic of this shift of soldiers is their slowness -- a deliberate slowness -- to anything that they do, be it checking people, young men or young women, or any kind of vehicle. There are ten soldiers who belabor all that they do. In the so-called fast lane, which often has up to 50 young women in it, the soldier, often with J., the commander, at his side, studies each and every ID and pats and fondles each and every handbag, however fashionably small, and each and every plastic bag, even when it obviously contains pittot or baklava!
An elderly man comes from Nablus, bearing a blue ID: maybe he overslept, since Israeli visitors (with blue IDs) are allowed into the city only on Saturdays. An Israeli car (yellow license plates) is also seen to emerge from the city, its papers studied methodically. Other Palestinian vehicles are not so lucky. They are turned back when papers are not in order, but the IDs are held by the soldiers until the car has turned around.
As we leave, a Hummer arrives at the checkpoint, and as it passes, a window is opened and a soldier shouts something unintelligible - at us? At the world? At the Occupation?