Beit Iba, Wed 10.10.07, Afternoon
Beit Iba 15:55
- We approach the check point but we can't get there because of the long line. About 70 vehicles are stuck. The main reason is the bypassing of the taxis. In each direction, there is only one line and, if someone by-passes, they close the passage to the cars coming from the opposite direction.
We walk on foot to the checkpoint. Next to the booth for vehicle inspection, I turn to the soldier and say shalom. He doesn't answer. I try to get him to talk, but with no success. Anyway, it isn't pleasant for him and he mumbles something (maybe - shalom), without looking at me. I left him alone.
At the pedestrian checkpoint there is the usual Wednesday mob. About 13 people in the detention area. We meet 2 European volunteers from the World Council of Churches. One from Germany and the other Sweden. They tell us that they have already called the Red Cross, since the detainees have been there for more than 2 hours already. Matan, from the DCO, comes over to us and says that he asked for reinforcements, and, in fact, the checkpoint does start to empty out.
We spoke with the volunteers from Europe. Their organization exists in many countries. The project which they joined is for Israel and Palestine. Now they are living in Tulkarm. Their goal - observing the checkpoints and agricultural assistance. They are astonished by the behavior of the soldiers, especially by one, whom they pointed out. I watched him and saw how he enjoyed the power given him to rule over people. When I spoke with a Palestinian who was standing nearby, waiting for his friend who was detained, this soldier forbade him to speak to me, and sent him far away from us.
I asked the soldier for his name, and he answered "Boreer". I think he made it up on the spot. HIs behavior was an example of hard-heartedness and evil. Suddenly, he wanted to seem "humane" in front of his guests, so he smiled and flattered the Palestinians. Immediately after, he returned to harassing them.
Michal spoke with the German. It turned out that he and his wife were on a Sabbatical year and decided to spend it in this volunteer activity. They were very pleased to meet us and to see that there were "other" Israelis...(That is what they said.)
I called the Humanitarian Hotline and spoke with Amit. I complained that there were 70 vehicles which were not moving and also about the soldiers who were not in control, as well as about the detainees whose time for release had arrived after a day of fasting and before the family meal waiting for them. Amit promised to take care of it and get back to me. He didn't get back to me.
16:45 - The checkpoint emptied out, but the detainees were still waiting. If it is allowed for the soldiers to keep them for 3-4 hours - why should they let them out earlier?
We said goodbye to the guests and the Palestinians.