Beit Iba, Jit, Wed 26.3.08, Morning
Summary. There are reservists at Beit Iba. They are polite and calm but not flexible.
New orders prevent the entrance to Nablus of trucks with goods through Beit Iba. Most of them are sent to Awarta about 30 kilometre away. There is no sense in this decree as for about a year few cars go through this checkpoint because so few permits are giving out to enter Nablus and there is no problem of overcrowding or pressure. It is only another way of embittering the lives of the people and to make it more difficult for them to make a living. Since the building of the new checkpoint it has become more and more difficult to see what is going on at different places especially as concerns the shed of the detainees and this causes arguments with the soldier. There is also no logic in this step except in so far as it limit us.
8.15-10.20 Beit Iba. Pedestrians are checked quickly and those entering Nablus are hardly checked and at this hour many are entering. At the exit as usual the young men go through the x-ray device and each one comes out with his belt in his hand without the whistling and sometimes shoes.
A taxi driver is detained and the polite commander says that he had come closer than he should have and promised to free him in an hour. The driver did not argue. This ritual repeats itself and the drivers have stopped arguing about how absurd it is. About 20 minutes later another driver is detained. We remind the commander of his promise and they are freed.
We now have a problem to get to the shed of the detainees to take their details and see who is there. Because this time the reservists are polite and it is hard for them to act impolitely we can do so . Also at other places at the checkpoint the military policeman shouts at us to get away. The commander apologizes and says that the MP pressures them.
A private car is sent to the side for a special check. Inside are an elderly couple, respectable, and they have a permit to take their car into Nablus which is unusual. They are ordered to take their baggage and what is inside them out on the road. In the meantime as usual carts loaded with goods pass by....instead of the cars for which it is impossible to get permits.
And now there is a new decree for the drivers of Beit Iba. Only cars with a special permit and take goods from Nablus through Beit Iba. That is besides the permit to drive into Nablus which is given only to a few and with many other limitations they now have to get a special permit to pass Beit Iba. Anyone who does not appear on the list in sent to Awarta. In all only 60 trucks can enter with goods. Only a "humanitarian"car or the cars going to the quarry are freed from this limitations.
A truck driver with tar which he took up at Dir Sharif, less then a kilometer away, is sent to Awarta, 30 kilometres away.
Another driver with glass from Israel who has already been checked at the "Ephraim gate" and who has to get to a factory next to the checkpoint is also sent there. A talk with Asam of the DCO also does not help. It seems this is a new decree made about a month ago. Until now we thought it was only meant for the residents of Kuchin.
One of the soldiers speaks in Arabic to a Palestinian which is as any other conversation between ordinary people at the same level, and not that between a ruler and a subject. The fact that this is so exceptional speaks for itself.
At Jit there is no checkpoint.
Svut Ami...there are people at this illegal settlement which had been supposedly evacuated by the army. It means that it is manned.