Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 25.1.09, Afternoon

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Alix W., Susan L. (reporting)

"Bigger is better" seems to be a prevailing theme here. Many people
think that bigger is better, be it a vehicle, a home or one's chest,
as well as a bigger and better position or job; yet others may study
how to create a bigger and better business strategy or how to perfect
the building of a bigger and better occupation in the OPT.

13:30 Shavei Shomron

Trucks and cars are lined up, single file, to go through this
resurrected checkpoint. Evidently, opening up Route 60 to Palestinian
traffic means opening it up to more trouble for those who live in the PA.
Nothing new under the sun….Man - in this case, the Occupier - has, in his
infinite wisdom, placed a number of plastic obstacles in the center of
the narrow roadway, making for a long wait as vehicles from the north,
from the direction of Jenin, wind their way around them, 14 in all,
and proceed to go down the hill. Since we see nothing from our place
in the waiting line, one of us gets out to monitor the situation.
Immediately the soldier, standing by his plastic obstacle course,
shouts at us that we are not allowed here. We tell him of our role at
checkpoints, "…..this is not a checkpoint," he insists, "it's a
barricade…" (the Hebrew words are similar in sound). "You must leave
immediately. " During this altercation, the waiting vehicles wait some
more. A white truck seems to have been stopped and is checked. And the
spring flowers, red anemones and white almond blossom, begin to show
their beauty amidst man's ugly nature.

14:30 Beit Iba

The noise and dust of the quarry make the checkpoint more surreal than
ever, added to which there's an ugly grey mist which today's newspaper
tell us comes "from Libya."

When was this checkpoint rebuilt, presumably at great expense to
Israeli or U.S. taxpayers? A number of the barricade arms at the
vehicle checking area lie on the ground, functioning no more; a
signpost stands akilter, an upright light has been hit, a window of
one vehicle checking booth is broken, the new fencing dividing the
vehicle checking area from the pedestrian area leans in tipsy fashion.
What does it matter? The checkpoint is supposed to be closed, or so we
have been told, since the Occupier has to keep moving, to show that he
can do things in bigger and better fashion, just repeating the daily
humiliation and harassment of a people.

The usual mixture of vehicles pass to Nablus from Deir Shraf: a Zim
truck, a local tractor, private cars, etc. There's no line from this
side, but from Nablus, it's quite long, leading the passing
representative from the DCL office to ask for two lines to be formed.
This request is grudgingly received by the soldiers who want to work
in desultory fashion although they make nearly every vehicle turn off
its engine and check IDs and permits carefully against their list.
The lone woman military police woman admires herself in her hand
mirror or functions in casual fashion, which includes sauntering over
to the central checking area with a green ID in hand or flirting with
the soldier standing by her.

Only one line open for the many students returning from university in
Nablus. One woman, who's been through the fast lane, where the soldier
hardly checks anybody, waits more than ten minutes for her son.

The beautiful filly by the quarry has a foal, as beautiful as she. A
passing mother points them out, smilingly, to her toddlers.