Beit Iba, Jit, Sun 2.3.08, Afternoon
The media today talked of the "continuing five-day offensive" and
the "ongoing IDF op" in Gaza, and we
report on the continuing forty
year plus occupation and the ongoing IDF occupation of the West
The more things change, the more they stay the same….
13:45 Jit Junction
The rolling checkpoint is back, at least from the Beit Iba direction.
13 vehicles wait going down the hill, as a soldier stands atop his
Hummer and points his gun at them.
Junction of 60 and 55
Another rolling checkpoint in the direction of Anabta and a large
truck, trying to go across the fields in a northerly direction, is
halted by an army Hummer. Nearly two hours later, this rolling
checkpoint is no more.
14:00 Beit Iba
We're told here that Anabta has been closed for one and a half hours,
and that there is a lot of tension in Palestinian cities today, based
on the IDF's incursion into Gaza.
This is confirmed, also, at the
checkpoint by people coming from Nablus
where, we're told, there are
hordes of angry people in the street. Still, the women students look
as well groomed and smiling as ever, clutching their notebooks in
their usual dignified fashion. Normal life goes on here regardless of
the horrors of what's going on elsewhere.
Although there are practically no vehicles coming out of Nablus, the
line of vehicles trying to get to the city from the Deir Sharaf
direction is endless, the checking both of pedestrians and of cars,
painfully slow. Boxes in pickup vans are opened and looked into, IDs
of women in the humanitarian line are checked against the usual
Shabak (General Security Services) list, and men are told, "You are
40 years old, this line is for 45 year olds, go back."
15:00 -- at the checkpoint, it seems there's a new bunch of soldiers,
R., the usual DCL representative, spending most of his time in an
enclosed vehicle checking booth, on the phone, while the 11-12 other
soldiers on duty spend an inordinate amount of time chatting with
each other and generally making checkpoint life as difficult as they
know how. Often, there are three soldiers by the turnstiles,
standing, smiling or simply staring at the 50, or so, young men
waiting patiently in line to get through. There are fewer people than
usual trying to get home, but the checking of young men – minus
shoes, belts and jackets and waiting, waiting, goes on in
painstakingly slow fashion. At times, only one turnstile lane is
A young woman is taken to the lock up by a woman soldier and they
spend at least five minutes there, guarded by a soldier outside it.
The young woman emerges, smiling and joking with the soldier, and
tries to communicate with us, still smiling.
15:20 -- the line of vehicles, waiting to enter Nablus, is up to the
Huwwash Brothers' carpentry shop, and has not moved in all the time
we've been at Beit Iba.