Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Wed 30.4.08, Afternoon
14:15 - We paid a visit to the family of Daoud in Haris. We had visited them before, after the army had destroyed their storage building in the courtyard and we remained in contact with them. This time we brought them childrens' clothes (which Raya had obtained "second hand" from Kibbutz Ganigar). It seems that Jawad is not employed and they are also in need of food. He does actually have a magnetic card, but there is no one who wants to employ him. The next trip we will bring the family food as well. We will also bring 50 NIS for plants which he will buy for a vegetable garden next to the house, in the courtyard.
On the way to Nablus we travelled on the roads to Mevo Dothan and to Shavei Shomron, on neither of which is there a possibility of getting to the other side. Highway #60, which leads to Jenin, is blocked. In order to get to Jenin one must travel by way of Tulkarm or Anabta.
15:20 - Beit Iba
No line of vehicles, traffic is flowing. Also at the exit from Nablus.
At the pedestrian checkpoint - the humanitarian line is moving properly. The shed is full, but not over-crowded. The two turnstiles are operating, and the movement is reasonable. In the cell - 3 detainees.
The commander does not want to talk with us. When we ask how many detainees there are and why they are detained, he refuses to answer.
The DCO rep - Assem - says that he won't talk to him either. But he can at least talk with the detainees. He says they have been there for about a quarter of an hour...
I sit down on the bench where I often sit. The commander refuses to tell us his name (he also won't tell Assem), and "requests" tha we move from our place and wait further away. We stand on our right to be in the same place from which we always observe. He comes up to me, takes the bench on which I am sitting, makes me get up and turns it over with the seat toward the ground. (Only 2 weeks ago, the substitute commander - Ran - particularly took that bench out for me to sit on).
Tami brings him a letter written by the legal advisor to the government which says that they are forbidden to close the checkpoint because of our presence there. He reads it and says: "But it is not written that you are permitted to stand here." And puts the letter in his pocket. Tami asks him to return the letter, but he refuses: "If you will leave, I will give you the letter back." Tami insists: "First of all, give me the letter, it is mine and you have no right to take it from me." In the end, he returns it, but holds his ground that we must leave the area. We remain. Tami calls Naomi, speaks to her on the phone, and the commander sees and understands that he doesn't have control over us. He leaves and doesn't look our way again.
15:50 - Another detainee in the cell (there were already 4). An officer with a red beard, with the rank of Major, and his friend with kippah and tzitzit (all of them settlers) argue with us and explain to us that we are disturbing their work and should leave. Another soldier joins them. Tami asks them to show her a order from a general. In place of an answer - one of them photographs us and the second calls the police.
All the bearded guys are busy with us, calling and getting advice about how to get rid of us. Their "work" is indeed disturbed, since, instead of dealing with those going in and out, they are busy with us. We sit next to the wall in silence and don't move. Naomi informs us that they sent a telegram to the legal advisor to the government.
A woman covered in black is stopped for an inspection in the inspection booth. Suddenly we notice that one of the turnstiles is not operating. Did they close because of us? it turns out that this is not the case. They needed a female soldier to inspect the woman in the booth, and she is only in the inspection booth of the men arriving from the turnstiles. When the inspection is over - the female soldier returns to her job and the turnstiles get back to work.
16:00 - The shed is emptying. Another 3 detainees who "trespassed" join their friends in the cell. At the same time, the commander releases one of the "veterans". There are still 6. I sit down on a crate (the bench had been turned upside down), but immediately the red-head pounces on me and "requests" that I get up.
16:15 - Another 2 are released. We hadn't noticed, but now only one remains.
We left the shed. On the way we met a students who waited for his mother and sisters. They live in Beit Iba. He studies in Ramallah and has now come to take them to the village of 'Atil, next to Dir al Rusun. During our conversation, Halil comes over (he carries in his wagon the possessions of people going through), and it turns out that they are cousins. We met the whole family.
The student is interested in us. He didn't know about us. He was amazed that there were such people.
16:30 - We left Beit Iba.