Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Tue 10.3.09, Afternoon
15:30 We see a checkpoint coming into existence after the turn from Route 57 toward Beit Iba: A moveable metal bar, an inspection booth.
The soldiers stop the cars and interrogate. I ask whether there isn’t supposed to be free passage here. The soldier replies, confidently, yes, there’s free passage; there are random checks.
“Free” has various meanings.
A detained vehicle was parked on the side. It turns out that it belongs to the Palestinian police. The soldiers were ordered to stop it because it drove on an Israeli route. It was released.
16:00 Beit Iba.
The shed is empty, no pedestrians.
The soldiers tell us that the checkpoint will close on Friday, and will be relocated at the entrance to Deir Sharaf. We don’t understand; after the huge investment in constructing a new checkpoint, it’s being eliminated. According to the DCO representative, the reason is to allow free passage from Deir Sharaf to Nablus.
16:45 Buses directed to a side road, their passengers have to get out, documents inspected. The commander has a list of three wanted persons; he checks that they aren’t among the passengers and release the bus.
Free entry to Nablus. There are18 vehicles in line at the exit from Nablus, in two lanes. The humanitarian line is short. The regular line is long.
17:20 We stop at the grocery store to say goodbye to Jamal. Maybe next time we won’t be able to go through the checkpoint to visit him?! He tells us about the theft of lands to construct the previous checkpoint and apparently for the new one as well.
We pass by the moveable metal bar and wonder how, on this narrow road, there will be room for soldiers to stand and check vehicles. Or perhaps entry will be free?