Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 8.2.09, Afternoon
There's a new energy drink in the OPT, XL Energy, and its effects were in evidence with the vigorous screeching of IDF jets overhead; the breaking up of the narrow barrier at Shavei Shomron by a giant earth digger and the liveliness of the commander at Beit Iba, who never skipped a beat and darted hither and thither all over "his" checkpoint.
13:20 Shavei Shomron
Impossible to get near the barricade itself as the plastic obstacles in the center of the narrow roadway have now given way to a giant earthmover which is doing something with great vigor, making it impossible for us to get closer - unless we head on towards Jenin!
14:00 Beit Iba
A donkey cart and its contents is gone over thoroughly by four soldiers who offload all its contents. Not much traffic in either direction.
At the turnstiles, we immediately note that they don't work: "No electricity." So, the young men, usually about 30 of them in line at any one time, go around the supposedly technologically sophisticated checkpoint and, as a result, we're told, of no electricity, have to pull up their pants (as well as opening their jackets -- as usual) and, yes, no taking off of belts (no electricity to check them)!
The women in the fast lane, usually about 30 of them, mainly students, have their IDs checked by the soldier against the GSS (General Security Service) list. One man is in the detention compound. He's "bingo," we're informed. N., the commander, and his men are all sporting berets which they've had, we're told, for more than two years (but until today, everybody has worn helmets). N. hops around all over the checkpoint, at one point looking into the contents of yet another donkey cart, at another telling one of the soldiers not to check vehicles on his own, and still finding time to ask us if everything is ok, but that if there are questions, we ask only him, not his men. A complaint is made about one of the Military Police women shrieking in the central checking compound, but other than seeing that the door is properly closed, nothing happens.
14:15 -- for no reason, the checking of women in the fast lane ceases, but a younger man has to lift up his sweater; five minutes later, N. and the DCL representative (bareheaded) wander over to the detention compound, give the detainee his ID, and he then makes his way across the checkpoint to a car where three men wait for their colleague: the car has a red crescent sign in the windshield.
As we leave, N. is again checking the contents of yet another donkey cart. A lot of energy goes into making this Occupation an encumbrance for all, man and beast.