Beit Iba, Wed 30.4.08, Morning

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Rina Z. Inbal R. Natanya translating.

Beit Iba. 8.00 - 10.00 Once again arguments between taxi drivers and soldiers from the direction of Nablus. Two drivers are detained. Some of the others have had their keys and IDs taken from them. There are different versions about how many as the Palestinians say 5 and the commander says 2. We can do nothing but complain to the humanitarian centre and wait. The representative of the DCO arrives.  The commander, a second lieutenant in the reserves by the name of Ziv tries to send us to the end of the checkpoint. He says he will  show us an army order which states that the checkpoint is a closed army area but first we must move back to the end of the shed. The DCO arrives and explains to him that he may not confiscate IDs or keys as this is illegal but Ziv ignores him. We cannot even get to those detained because they are on the other side of the line. After a long hour of attempts to communicate with them it again becomes apparent that the Palestinians are scared to complain.

The DCO says he will pass our complaint on to the brigade. Another call to the centre tells us that the keys were returned to the drivers after 3 hours.  They say that they have passed the report on and that the orders will be clarified.  To Ziv this does not matter as tomorrow he ends his reserve service.

A taxi driver says that he has been waiting for a month for a permit to enter Nablus. Each time he gets to the DCO it is closed and he has been told that that is how it will remain over Passover. He says that 200 drivers are waiting for permits and we think that this is an exaggeration but the situation is bad. The transporter of gas did not get a permit because of a claim that the quota of trucks going into Nablus is full. The centre says there is nothing to be done. He wishes us a happy holiday and we say that Holocaust day is not one for rejoicing and he says he does not mean our "catastrophe" but that it is the 1st May.