Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 4.5.08, Afternoon
Fun and games: it's hard to conceive of an Occupation as light
amusement, but certainly to the Occupiers, that's the way it seemed
today: a pleasant, enjoyable, and light-hearted activity or amusement.
For the Palestinians, however, today was just another day in the daily
grind of restrictions, rules and regimentation.
14:40 Shavei Shomron
We head up to Shavei Shomron to see what's going on at this once busy
checkpoint on Route 60. Today, it's so quiet, we can hear the birds
sing, and it seems there's nobody in the lookout tower by the military
camp on this side of the settlement. We're wrong, as a soldier, who's
been sitting, walks over to us, casually and seemingly glad to talk. A
reservist who hopes only that his young son won't have to do the same
in his life…. inshallah!
Strange sight: an Israeli car trying to get into Nablus, drives up to
the checking booth in the lanes empty of all traffic. R., the
representative of the DCO office, hasn't noticed but says, "Of course,
he can't enter Nablus." The hopeful driver is, of course, turned back.
One of the new vehicle checking booths has part of its plate glass
Not only no vehicles, but very few pedestrians. They are the usual students,
one studying English, anxious to practice, and a new group of
Ecumenical Accompaniers, with little to observe today. Only 14 men
lined up behind two working turnstiles, nobody in the "fast" lane.
"See, no checking," says one of the military policemen, cheerfully.
"That's because I came on duty." Again, a game. Actually, he's not
quite accurate, since IDs are checked against the usual
(General Security Services) list, both coming out of and going into
We comment on the horror of the group of soldiers on duty last week.
This week's reservists shrug this off, "What can you do?" Evidently,
that's also part of the game and not to be taken seriously (except by
the Palestinians who have to endure the bad with the less bad).
15:35 -- we can't help noticing that the same Passat car which had so
much trouble coming out of Nablus last week is, this week, waved on
with a flourish. (A new shift of soldiers has come on at 15:30, soon
after our arrival).
15:40 -- one turnstile is now closed, so the line of men waiting to be
checked, as usual, minus belts, phones, coins, etc., grows and there
are now at least 20 men waiting in one lane. But in the "fast" lane,
the DCO representative allows a man, carrying a bag of bottles, looked
into, to go through, even though he's obviously less than 45 years of
15:45 -- this DCO representative is now replaced by another, who
places a squeegee (yes, a squeegee) into place across one of the
walkways leading to the central checking area: a new barrier (machsom)
has been created, making people wishing to enter Nablus go into one
lane. The fun and games in the OPT continue.