Beit Iba, Jit, Qalqiliya, Thu 12.6.08, Afternoon
On the way to Beit Iba there were no difficulties. At the Eliyahu crossing the traffic was streaming into Qalqiliya. The crossroads of Jit were open. The road to Azzun was open and the piles of dirt pushed aside. At the exit from Nablus were many pedestrians and the shed was completely full so passing and took about an hour. Now and again the soldiers told the Palestinians to move back because of the pressure on the turnstiles. When the shouts did not help they jumped into the line and pushed the people violently back. One of the soldiers especially was noticeable for his violence and the commander sent him to check cars. Those who tried to slip by were caught and punished.
15.00 There is much pressure on those leaving Nablus and the Palestinians report that they waited two hours. We measured it at about an hour. The DCO representative was in place and came to help the soldiers speed up the line. He said that when he arrived even the humanitarian line had been long but after his arrival hardly any line was left. Everyone is checked at the entrance to Nablus. There are 4 detainees who tried to slip through and the soldiers say that they know them as they have often tried this before so they are being kept for 6 hours and not 3. That is if the commander gets the assurance from the company commander.
Cars waiting to enter Nablus are checked very slowly and it takes about 20 minutes to half an hour. The commander is tough and acts accordingly towards the Palestinians. A young man tries to pass in the fast line because he has just come out of hospital but is sent by the commander to the ordinary line. A couple with parcels try to go through together but the husband is sent to the ordinary line. The wife passes along with all the parcels. The commander sends any Palestinian who has been checked outside the limits of the checkpoint as soon as they have put on their belts and organized themselves.
We hear the shouts on the loudspeaker to move back. The soldiers jump into the lines to push them back and suddenly we see a belt flying in the air over the fence and the Palestinians tell us that they were pushed back violently especially by one soldier. A captain arrives with two soldiers and they watch what is happening. In the car line at the entrance to Nablus are 5 cars which take 15-20 minutes to pass. A wave of people arrive to enter Nablus and the company commander helps to check the women. A family with two small children arrive and when the man is sent to the ordinary line the wife and children join him. The commander tells the woman to go through and a few minutes later the husband joins her.
At 16.00 students leaving Nablus are only checked if they have parcels. A mother arrives with her daughter, The commander finds that the daughter forgot her ID at home and they have to wait until one of the family brings it to them.
Again soldiers go into the lines to push people back and another is detained because he tried to bypass.
16.20 A police van arrives and we pay no attention until a policeman with a Russian accent comes up to us and aggressively demands our IDs. When we ask what the problems is he says that the captain had summoned him because we were bothering them and standing in the checking area. He demands that we leave the shed and is very rude and does not listen to us. We try to tell him that we are surprised as no one has spoken a word to us and so we did not expect him to come. He says that the captain says that he warned us many times and we did not listen. We say that the captain is lying !!! He had not spoken a word to us. That is evidently the greatness of the army captains who will not speak to us but are willing to lie without shame. We put the policeman in touch with the lawyer Gabbie Laski who tries to find out from us how we had bothered the commander. Then he says that if we do not move off he will stop the passage of the Palestinians. At that moment two Ecumenicals arrive and we decide to stay in touch with them in the area of the shed. I go into the road and see that the shed is half full. There are only a few cars leaving Nablus.
16.30 Some Palestinians whom we know come up to us and say that they are members of a group which is on the way to a wedding. The women have already gone through and some elderly men but the soldiers will not let the young men through and there is a problem with some of the children who had not brought their birth certificates with them. The bus is waiting. Only after a long half hour all pass (we are informed by phone) but only after a commotion had eruped with a man taking his nephew through without the birth certificate. The commander had threatened to call the police but had not done so.