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From the field

Soldiers routinely delay traffic at a checkpoint in Beit Iba, September 2006

Ahmad Jabour, owner of hardware store

Ahmad Jabour

I own a hardware store in Nablus . Every day, I have to pass several times through the Beit Iba checkpoint to bring building materials from the quarries next to the checkpoint. The soldiers at the checkpoint inspect the residents very slowly, and there is always traffic, which forces me to wait inside my truck for several hours.

Many times I see the soldiers chatting on the phone or with each other, completely ignoring the people waiting in the heat or the cold. Sometimes the soldiers close the checkpoint, claiming that there is a suspicious object or explosives. In such cases, we are forced to wait up to four hours. Sometimes the soldiers humiliate the people and other times they ask the truck owners to unload their merchandise, which causes even more delay.

I need to bring materials from the quarries 3 times a days and that means I need to pass through the checkpoint 6 times a day. In actuality, I only manage to pass once or twice because it takes so much time. Many times I have to ask one of the truck drivers to deliver me the material and I pay him 350 NIS for every delivery. This is a very high price, but I have no choice because I cannot stay without merchandise in the store. Because of the time I spend on checkpoints, I am gone from the store for long periods at a time and am thus forced to hire someone to take care of the customers.

Ahmad Tawfiq Ahmad Jabour, 44, married and father of 5, is a resident of the village of Salem in Nablus district and an owner of hardware store in Nablus. His testimony was taken by Salma a-Deb'i on 18 September 2006.