Beit Iba, Jit, Sun 27.1.08, Afternoon

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Alix W., Susan L. (reporting)


The "Stupidity of Occupation" deserves an annual report on its own,
since there are endless ways of identifying stupidity in general, and
the stupidity of this Occupation in particular. "The difference
between genius and stupidity is that genius has its
limits." "Stupidity has a knack of getting its way." "As if there
were safety in stupidity alone." "Stupidity is evil waiting to
happen." "Always you have to contend with the stupidity of men"– and
of the Occupation.

Beit Iba.

Israeli contractors' trucks and SUVs again punctuate the checkpoint
landscape. We soon learn why: traffic lights are being installed at
the vehicle checking area, and the new roadway dug up, and re-
cemented, for the necessary electrical work. We wonder if traffic
signals mean the end of the famous hand signals: we won't bet on it.
Yet another truck with Israeli license plates is the dog's, and it,
with its soldier keeper, leave the checkpoint when we do and hold up
an ambulance. Before their exit from the checkpoint, dog and his
soldier are kept busy, checking whatever there is to check. Once
again, a mass of brand new blue jeans are offloaded from a porter's
cart and lie on the wet roadway. Three soldiers, not one, pat and pat
again, three large sacks of flour or rice on another porter's cart.
We note that the newly improved checkpoint has the same kind of large
puddles and sticky mud as after last winter's rains.

14:30 -- an ambulance wails its way from Deir Sharaf, then waits at
the checkpoint, overtaking five waiting vehicles, large and small, is
waved on its way by a soldier and wails its way into the city beyond.

A soldier takes a young man into the lock up and is followed by the
commander who, like his men, exchanges not a word with us today. Once
again, there is a plethora of soldiers at the checkpoint, often five
at the vehicle checking area, and as many at the pedestrian zone.
Once again, everything is thoroughly checked. Brand new blankets, in
their transparent plastic covering, have to be opened and checked.
Bags, briefcases and women's handbags, are invasively entered.
Soldiers' hands burrow into the corners, pull out and study folded
papers, fondle yet other carrier bags and make the entire process of
going through the checkpoint even more onerous than it already is.

Of course, all the young men, at least 80 in the lines behind the two
turnstiles, have to remove belts, sometimes shoes, and always coats
on this cold winter's afternoon. As usual, many wander into the
humanitarian line to try their luck at passage there. The two
soldiers on duty here are like robots, one even shouting out, in
Arabic, non stop, "nobody under the age of 45." The rest of the time,
he yells in Hebrew at everybody or bellows questions at all the men,
sometimes at women and children. When he checks people's IDs, and
when he doesn't understand, which happens frequently, he hands the ID
to the soldier in the booth at the head of the humanitarian line. The
rule that children must come with only mothers or fathers is strictly
enforced, and a young male relative is sent back to stand in
the "checkpoint" line.

No checking at all of people going into Nablus, but there are usually
six or seven vehicles, all shapes and sizes going into Nablus, who
have to wait and wait. All buses coming out of Nablus are entered,
all packages in trucks and cars examined.

At the pedestrian checking area, two soldiers stand behind the table,
and both of them point their guns at the men behind the turnstiles,
or poke their guns into the bags or briefcases proffered for
inspection on the table in front of them.

Jit Junction - open__._,_.___