Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
Reihan, Shaked, Wed 11.4.12, Morning
Reihan (Bartaa) Checkpoint allows transit only to vehicles and pedestrians holding transit permits appropriate to the place. The checkpoint is located on the separation fence, east of East Bartaa, and is supposed to supply continuation of the "fabric of life" to the Palestinian residents living in the "Seam Zone," who have been physically cut off from the West Bank by the that fence. Since 16 May 2007, it has been maintained by a civilian security company subcontracting to the Defense Ministry.
Functioning on the site is a large and sophisticated terminal, which includes biometric facilities for identification of the palm of the hand, and small examination rooms to which men and women are taken by random selection. Agricultural produce and other goods may be transferred through here from the West Bank to the Seam Zone enclave in limited quantities, by a group of regular drivers and in prior coordination with the DCO and the army.
Since the checkpoint passed into civilian hands, the Mevo Reihan CP (near Umriha village) has been used as a checking point for Palestinians on their way to the Reihan checkpoint.
Translating Dvora K.
All kind of work is being done around the CP. This morning a group of officers were there. The computer was down and it was inconvenient to inspect those going through. People who have always gone through suddenly became 'excluded by order of the General Security Service'. There was an atmosphere of great tension. One man went through accompanied by three officers and a police commander. They decided that he was not really going to do agricultural work, as his permit specified, but was going to work in construction, as the tools he was carriying indicated. The man said that he was going to his olive grove and that the tools were always with him, in his bag. The argument went on in the waiting shed on the side of the seamline zone. We heard one of the officers say that one always 'has to look at their hands to see if they really do any work.'
An older woman arrived, in tears . She has a permit to go through to the seamline zone to visit two of her married children who live in Umm Reihan, a Palestinian village in the seamline zone. She wanted to bring her children and their family some food that she has cooked the night before. The soldiers at the CP decided that this was a 'commercial quantity' and did not allow her to transport the pots of food. The woman went home with the pots and came back to the CP crying and empty-handed. In the meantime Wahal from the DCO arrived. We told him about the woman and he told her to go to her home on the West Bank, to return with the food and he would let her to go through. The woman was exhausted and did not have the strength to return home again in order to come back to the CP for the third time. Moreover, she was not certain that Wahal would indeed wait there for her.
One of the soldiers told us that we know nothing about all the smuggling that goes on in the CPs, and that is why they have to be very cautious.
10:00 Reihan-Barta'a CP
We stayed there for about an hour and there was no extraordinary event. We returned via East Barta'a. A man told us that his wife is pregnant and that she travels to the university in Jenin every day. He is worried because of the x-ray inspections that she has to undergo twice a day. Another man, older and a father of several children, told us that he is not allowed to enter Israel. He feels choked. According to him none in his immediate family or among his relatives was ever involved in any kind of hostile activity, but 'they' are not willing to tell him why he is forbidden access.