Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Mon 13.10.08, Morning
07:25 Shavei Shomron
A checkpoint is in place since the morning, perhaps because of the pipe bomb reportedly discovered at Beit Iba the previous day.
The soldiers apparently come from the base and don’t really know what to do (according to one of them, “I just follow orders.” They only check people coming from one direction at a time. At least ten vehicles are on line to Jenin. We ourselves waited about 10 minutes. You can’t see the end of the line that’s waiting from Jenin. They’re checking mainly ID cards.
07:55 We walked the length of the line toward Sebastia/Jenin, and counted more than 50 vehicles. It took 20 minutes for 15 vehicles to go through; in other words, people have to wait in line for about an hour. We called the humanitarian office, to the DCO. Nina spoke with the soldiers, asking them to at least make a priority of the line from Jenin, and they did, and when we went on to Beit Iba there were already 15 vehicles on line to enter Jenin.
08:10 Beit Iba.
Very quiet; no lines and pedestrians entering aren’t checked. No detainees.
There’s a dog handler, and during our entire stay vehicles were sent to be checked by her and the dog.
The checkpoint commander claims he was present at the checkpoint when the people with the pipe bombs were caught; the fuse wasn’t connected to the explosive. We asked him whether he didn’t think it might have been just an exercise. Of course he said no, it was real. It isn’t clear how much he believes this. They all looked a little too calm for soldiers who were almost blown up yesterday.
09:00 We returned to Shavei Shomron.
The situation was a little better, as indicated by the fact that there weren’t any people waiting outside of their cars, as there had been earlier.
We counted 15 vehicles waiting to enter Jenin, and only (!!) 25 vehicles leaving.