Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Sun 26.10.08, Afternoon

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Alix W., Ruthie W. Z., Susan L. (reporting)


"The Incredible Lightness of Being" is about pain and suffering. Little "lightness" about it, or about the Occupation. Today, in particular, the Occupation felt especially heavy and dark and weighty, a sense of catastrophe seemingly never far off. So, today, it was the incredible heavy darkness of being.

13:40 Shavei Shomron

A lot of traffic going in both directions through the now open checkpoint on Route 60: Palestinian trucks, private cars, taxis, buses. We ask the soldiers about Jewish settlers going through on their way to Homesh where, it's reported in the last few days, two new wooden structures have miraculously, appeared. One soldier says he doesn't know (to be expected); another says, "The army takes them out after a few days." Go and know....

We hear that there's trouble with the olive picking around the colony of Shavei Shomron. Today was supposed to be the first day of the four allowed to harvest olives in the vicinity of the settlement, on the inner side of the security road. Not only did the army arrive late to bring the one hundred or so people to pick the olives from their land, but the women were told they could not stay since they did not bring their IDs (to pick their own olives on their own lands!). A compromise was reached, and, instead, the army, we are told, "took" a young man, in his thirties (no reason, of course, given) "to the police station at Qedumim." We take all his details and go into action when we get to Beit Iba.

14:00 Beit Iba

To solve the problem of the Deir Sharaf resident, taken to Qedumim, we enlist the help of MachsomWatch women, one of whom finds that, indeed, the young man has been helped, by a Shomrei Mishpat person, so no need for MW to get involved! By the time we leave the checkpoint an hour later, we learn that the young man has returned to his home in Deir Sharaf. The DCO representative on duty at Beit Iba, T.,  also tried to be helpful and gave us the phone number of the DCO office in Qedumim, 02 970 4646. The fact that it was continuously busy does not detract from T's attempts to be helpful.

Greeting us on arrival at the checkpoint, at the central checking booth, a big piece of red construction paper with words, written in large letters, as follows:

תודה לווטש במחסום על עזרתכן להצלחת מאבקנו

פעילי תנועות הטרור



                                         TERROR MOVEMENT ACTIVISTS

Not the first time we've seen this, but the Judea and Samaria Legal Advisor, a couple of months ago, promised the MW lawyers that there would be no political manifestations of any kind at the checkpoints. So this sign was in grave violation of his dictum. We tell this to N., the lieutenant in command of this shift. "It was here when I got here, I've no idea why or what it is." He doesn't care, walks away and chats to the soldier dealing with people in the fast lane. When no soldier is looking, one of us scurries over to the central checking area control booth and peels the offending poster from the wall while another of us calls MW's lawyer.

Little traffic in or out of Nablus. Plenty of students, women and men, returning from the university, books tucked under their arms. A minibus from Tubas stops at the checkpoint, all the young men emerge: they are on their way to Ramallah and wonder if we can help. Luckily, they are allowed to clamber back into the bus and are on their way four minutes later.