Beit Iba, Jit, Shave Shomron, Thu 5.3.09, Afternoon

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Hagar L., Irene T., Milat S. Translator: Charles K.

Changes in the area of the
Beit Iba checkpoint
– While we were at the Beit Iba checkpoint
we heard from the commander, who came by, about a number of changes
that will soon be implemented (in a week or two):

  1. The Beit Iba checkpoint
    will close and traffic from Nablus will be unrestricted.
  2. The roadblock on
    the Beit Wazzan-Juneid road will be removed and traffic to and from
    Nablus will be allowed to use this road.
  3. The roadblock at
    the entrance to the village of Sara will be removed.
  4. The turnoff to the
    Jit junction further down Route 55 will be opened.
  5. Traffic at the Shave
    Shomron checkpoint will be unrestricted.

There’s been talk in the
past about removing checkpoints, and nothing happened.  We’ll
follow-up to see what part of this plan will be implemented.  Will
something similar occur at the Huwwara checkpoint?

If the checkpoints are actually
removed, what will happen to the one being upgraded at the exit from
Deir Sharaf?  Will inspections be conducted there?  Will it
close at night?  Will all the checkpoints that are removed close
at night?

16:25.  We see bulldozers
at the entrance to Deir Sharaf that are widening the road at the place
where the checkpoint that was dismantled had stood.  We wonder
whether there will be a new checkpoint there.  The news about the
closing of the Beit Iba checkpoint leads us to think so. 

16:30.  Beit Iba. 
We meet a friend from Ramallah who tells us that at 10 AM everything
stopped for half an hour at the Huwwara checkpoint because one of the
people going through “was fresh” to a soldier.  He said that
an officer who showed up (from the DCO?) demanded that they go back
to work, but the soldiers didn’t do so.

About 60 people waiting on
the line off to the side, and about 40 on the line for younger men. 
Only one inspection lane is open because the magnemometer at the second
lane is out of order.  The length of the line doubles after 10-15
minutes.  We ask the commander to do something to shorten the wait. 
Most of the soldiers’ efforts are devoted to shortening how long vehicles
wait. During the entire time we were at the checkpoint there was a
line of about 15 cars, sometimes a little more, and the soldiers’
efforts shortened it a little.  It was hard to determine the length
of the wait because we couldn’t see the head of the line.  Over
the course of 20 minutes we saw three cars that weren’t allowed to
leave Nablus.  In at least one case we saw the soldier explain
to the driver that he could go out through Shave Shomron.

16:50.  The battalion
commander has arrived with additional soldiers.  With the help
of a phone call to the technician they get the magnemometer working
again and a second inspection lane opens.  After both lanes
were open we counted 147 people going through the lane for younger men
in one hour.  When only one lane was open, it took 20 minutes for
19 people to go through.  We tracked one person
– it took him 20 minutes to get through. 

We should note that we arrived late at the checkpoint, after most of
the students had already gone through.

18:15  Shave Shomron checkpoint. 
Soldiers inspect cars going in both directions while half a kilometer
away they enter Nablus without being checked.  The soldiers say
those are their instructions, but despite the “instructions,” right
after we spoke with them they began letting cars through to Nablus without
inspections, and only stop a car belonging to a settler to find out
where he’s going (but let him continue).  We called the DCO,
who, like us, was also surprised why cars going to Nablus were being
inspected; he promised to find out and take care of it.  We leave.

18:30  Jit junction is
open; the checkpoints are not manned.