Today’s newspaper reported that Netanyahu, in a Washington Post interview, did not reject establishment of a commission of inquiry into alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, while a “clarification” by his office indicated that the PM is not considering such a commission. Why bother with this? Only one reason. Facts on the ground never match announced declarations. During July 2009, Israeli authorities eased up at West Bank checkpoints (only one, Beit Iba, was completely dismantled). This easing signified the so called “economic peace” of which Netanyahu loves to boast, while the media could report an “improved quality of life.” Why in the summer of 2009? Barack Obama was putting pressure on Israel. Now, several months later, Obama has other concerns, and -- in the West Bank -- it’s back to the good old 42 years of occupation, complete with checkpoints seemingly reappearing at a moment’s notice.
14:00 Deir Sharaf
The soldiers are well out of sight of all vehicles, resting on the side, unconcerned about traffic passing to and from across the checkpoint. But at the junction with 55, there is a huge traffic jam: the stoppage is caused by road works, repaving of the already well asphalted “apartheid” roads in the OPT. It’s roads behind the Green Line that are in urgent need of repaving, not the kilometers and kilometers of roads in the OPT. However, it’s clear, if we didn’t already know it, what the government priority is.
We learn here that Beit Iba was alive and well, as a checkpoint, just last week. Stay tuned for the continuing saga of checkpoints and the occupation.
14:30 Shavei Shomron
A bus is stopped at the side of the road, presumably awaiting checking on its way to Jenin. The soldiers confront us and are curious as to how we got here. “By just driving up the road, down which we’re now going to go.” One of the Huwwash brothers, from the carpentry workshop, near the old checkpoint at Beit Iba, is in a car on its way northwards and waves to us as we turn to go back down to the main road, and he waits to be checked by the soldiers at the checkpoint.