Beit Iba, Shave Shomron, Mon 9.2.09, Afternoon
15:10 We turn before Deir Shar’af onto the road to Jenin next to Shave Shomron’s fence and discover a manned by soldiers, cars waiting for a signal to go through. A tractor is working on the road and the soldiers direct the traffic, letting cars through in one direction at a time.
15:30 A few hundred meters past Deir Shar’af, on the way to the Beit Iba checkpoint, we see a long line of cars, many trucks, none of them moving. Some of the drivers have gotten out to see what’s happening. The drivers say they’ve already been waiting for an hour. About 50 meters in front of the checkpoint three armed soldiers stand to prevent people going through on foot. A number of army vehicles stand in the middle of the road and a police jeep on the side. Ten soldiers wander among the vehicles. One of them signals us to stop. In reply to our question he tells us that a bomb has been found and they’re preparing to explode it.
A young Palestinian in an undershirt, handcuffed, is brought over to a military vehicle, and a few minutes later taken back to the checkpoint. We called the humanitarian office to report. They told us they know about it, and will also record that we called. The Palestinian is again taken along the road, and brought back. One of the military vehicles looks like a mobile lab. Two soldiers wearing helmets and protective vests, holding plastic gloves, remove items from drawers on the lab vehicle. A soldier checks the youth’s handcuffs, blindfolds him with a strip of flannel cloth, and seats him by the roadside. One of the Palestinians who is waiting says, “Enough of this performance.”
15:45 The robot is brought, and put in the lab vehicle.
16:00 An explosion is heard. The soldiers smile and shake hands. Three of them go over to admonish the Palestinians awaiting instructions to begin going through. They use three Arabic words and motion angrily with their hands: “Yallah, go on, get to the cars,” Yallah, ruh l’siyyarah,” “Ruh, more, more.”
16:05 The Palestinian youth is brought near the lab vehicle. Another controlled explosion is heard. After a minute the youth is taken back to the roadside. The soldiers remove their gloves and protective vests. Others return to their stations. A civilian backpack, apparently belonging to the Palestinian, is taken by the Israeli policeman. The youth is placed in isolation. They don’t lock the door or remain to guard him.
16:10 The lab vehicle leaves. The police jeep also leaves. The Palestinians start walking toward the checkpoint but the soldiers stop them and try to move them back.
16:15 Women and children arrive from Nablus.
Alice comments that the entire large crowd waits quietly.
16:30 Pedestrians and vehicles start being allowed through. The soldiers inspect the vehicles before the checkpoint. Two soldiers carefully inspect the vehicles leaving Nablus. Also the porters’ carts and the plastic bags they’re bringing through. A line of cars coming from Kochin stands waiting. The DCO representative says that the soldiers are regulating the traffic to avoid jams.
Everyone entering Nablus went through without being inspected. Masses of people leaving Nablus are crowding into the turnstiles, and the fast lane is very crowded. An additional fast lane opens. The end of the line isn’t visible.
The DCO representative arrives. When we ask, “What happened?,” he says, “They found a bomb.” “A youth tried to bring it through the checkpoint.” “Why through the checkpoint?” “He was paid.”
Majid, the owner of the kiosk: We hear that tomorrow is election day in Israel, there’s a curfew.
17:20 Trucks and cars continue to flow toward Nablus. The line of cars reaches beyond the Hawwash Brothers’ carpentry workshop, toward Deir Sha’af.