Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Thu 12.3.09, Afternoon

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Smadar H. Karin L. (reporting)

Beit Iba

 15:50: The winding road after the turn to Shave Shomron has been widened into two lanes with a barrier in between.  Next to it a tower has been put up and the yellow gatesinfo-icon still stand along the length of the road   

Beit Iba Checkpoint: 16:05-17:30

10 cars are waiting at the exit.  They are being superficially searched in both lanes.  There is about a 7-minute wait per car.  Few cars are entering and there is no waiting line.  There are about 30 people in the shed who are not in the “humanitarian” line waiting to go through.  Only one inspection window is operating.  The commander explains that this is because on Sunday all this will be over, and this checkpoint will be eliminated.  He agrees about its lack of purpose and efficiency.  There is an atmosphere among the soldiers similar to that of the days before summer vacation begins.   

16:25: 22 people have gone through the turnstile in 10 minutes.  A person whom who we tracked took 15 minutes to come out.  The men arrive with their belts in one hand and a knapsack or books in the other.  One, who continued to set the buzzer off, had to take off his coat.  A group of young women, mostly students, and several men who are with them are checked in two lanes with a glance at their ID cards. 

16:50: Despite the fact that the number of people in the shed remains more or less the same, it now takes only ten minutes to get through the checkpoint.  My comment that I thought that too many cars were waiting at the exit was met with an immediate response and a request to let 7-8 cars through to ease the backup. 

An empty bus comes back.  When we asked what happened we were told that its driver did not agree to let the passengers out to be checked at the checkpoint.  
The rumor that the checkpoint will no longer operate has spread and several young people asked us about it, but we know nothing more and can only repeat what we were told: it will be moved further on the road to Shave Shomron and only vehicles will be checked there.