Beit Iba, Jit, Wed 10.10.07, Morning
Summary: Last week of Ramadan. Last night a Palestinian will killed by the IDF in Nablus.
Almost no vehicles entering or leaving Nablus. The main reason is that they are not granting permits which are needed at the checkpoint for every vehicles that passes through. A pharmaceuticals salesman is forced to take his drug supply in a hand-cart through the checkpoint since he doesn't have a permit for his car. It is also possible that the IDF operation is causing fear which paralyzes traffic. And it could also be a reflection of the economic crisis.
Today was a bad day for taxi drivers at the checkpoint. The officer carried out a war against them and gave out punishments every time someone came too close, in his opinion, to the checkpoint.
It is possible that, when the construction is finished at the checkpoint, we will have problems in getting to parts of the area which are now open to us.
There is no checkpoint at 'Ain Bidan. No checkpoint at J'it Junction.
Detailed report: pedestrian checkpoint
A lot of soldiers. Also representative from the DCO. Most of the time those entering Nablus move quickly, some are not even checked. At the exit from Nablus there aren't many people at this hour and, despite the thorough inspections, including taking out everything from packages, there is no line. The problems arise in the afternoon, when the students come out for the holiday.
8:15 – Two men in suits (lawyers) are having a conversation with the checkpoint commander. Two weeks ago, they protested against a body search and having to raise their shirts in public, and the argument is continuing today. The checkpoint commander wants to prove that he can force them. Even though no one who arrived today was made to raise their shirt, the argument ended with the commander and one of them going to the cell and there, behind closed doors, he apparently undressed. And in this way the commander proved that he could force anyone to undress, but the Palestinian also was not publicly shamed. Is this the face of an "enlightened" occupation?
8:20 – A man from Deir Sharaf, near the checkpoint, forgot his ID at home. His driver's license didn't help, nor his worker's ID, both of them with photos. A Palestinian cannot pass through without an ID (they explained that he could enter Nablus, but not come out).
The soldiers called to someone waiting in line, someone they call Avi, and he came up with another soldier to the hill above the checkpoint, where they could not be seen. After a few minutes they returned. We don't know what went on there. The soldiers assure us that is acting on his own free will, and that they know him.
A Palestinian gives a gift of two full bottles of olives (it is the beginning of the harvest) to the construction manager. He says that he gives the Palestinian 5 shekels every day. It seems that there is a complex relationship at the checkpoint between the masters and the pawns.
When we arrived one taxi driver was already in detention. While we were there, more and more joined him. When we left, at 9:30, there were six. The transgression, so-called, was always that they had come to close in their attempt to "hunt" for clients. In this condition of severe economic crisis, what wouldn't they do in order to make a bit of money? They know that they are taking a risk, but their need of money takes precedence. Here there is a youth of 20, who probably never knew poverty in his life, playing with them to show who is in control. He holds them, according to him for 3 or 4 hours, taken out of their work day and their pitiful income (a few dozen shekels a day).
8:50 – A man arrives with an 8 yr old child. He says he is his nephew. He has his birth certificate in his hand. The DCO representative compares him to the ID of the man, in order to confirm that they are related. And then, with incomparable justice, he allows the boy and his uncle to enter Nablus, but explains to them that they cannot come out again, only if one of the parents comes to the checkpoint. Can someone explain the thought behind this draconian rule? (Apparently, the passage between areas of the Palestinian Authority to that of Israel is considered a passage between states, and according to the treaty that Israel has signed, it is not permitted for a minor without papers to pass through, in order to prevent kidnapping).
Anan (or Adnan) Nasser, a journalist working in Nablus, says that during the night the soldiers killed a Palestinian in Nablus. He says that yesterday afternoon there was chaos at the checkpoint, and people were kept there beyond the hour for breaking the fast and forced to eat their breakfast meal at the checkpoint.
Inbal calls attention to the fact that the way they are building the pedestrian checkpoint, we will have problems in approaching to see what is going on at the exit from Nablus, and we won't be able to speak with the detainees.
During our entire shift, very few cars went through the checkpoint. We are used to the phenomenon (there is a policy of decreasing the number of permits), but today it was very conspicuous. Anan Nasser says that people are perhaps afraid to enter Nablus because of the military action last night. The taxi drivers say that is simply because of the economic crisis. (could also be because the checkpoint at 'Ain Bidan is unmanned and any vehicles can go through).
We counted how many vehicles came and went from Nablus every quarter hour, the second largest city in the territories, with a population of about 140,000 and three roads out. At the exit, 5 vehicles and one donkey cart went out. At the entrance, one truck and a line of 5 vehicles. There were long stretches of time when there were no vehicles in either direction.
In contrast, we constantly see donkey carts, piled with merchandise, going back and forth….donkeys don't need permits.
8:30 – Four dogs and their trainers arrived. Today they will do exercises, at the expense of those going through the checkpoint, for whom the dog is impure and pollutes everything that it touches. Even the fact that it is Ramadan doesn't help them.
9:00 – A dog inspects a taxi. The passengers move over to the other side of the road. The inspection takes 8 minutes.
9:20 – A private car with a passenger from a drug company comes to receive a shipment. Since he doesn't have a travel permit, nor does the car which is bringing the shipment, he sends a worker with a hand-cart to bring the drugs back and forth. He is fed up with the occupation authorities. As usual, he expresses his disgust to us. He doesn't know which of his complaints to make first, which is the worst, whether it is the checkpoints, the prisoners, the refugees ---the checkpoint is open to vehicles until 19:00, and to pedestrians, until 20:00. After that, they are prevented from going in or coming out, prisoners in their own city. He finishes off, "We want to rule our own homes".
Mahmud Nasser, from Radio Nablus, reports that there is no checkpoint at 'Ain Bidan, as has been the situation through most of Ramadan.
J'it Junction: no checkpoints.