Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: four inspection windows are open and many people want to pass through the checkpoint. Most of them don’t have to wait in a queue and the soldiers in the positions are quiet.
Two women are not allowed to go through the checkpoint because their passes are valid from 6/11 to 9/11.
A man comes from the Jerusalem side and approaches one of the soldiers in order to get back his ID card which had been taken from him during the night..The ID is indeed returned to him. The soldier in the position calls the commander who comes out of one of the inside rooms and returns him his ID. I did’nt manage to find out what had happened during the night.
An elderly woman begs to be allowed to pass although she doesn’t have a permit. She tries her luck at each of the positions but nothing helps.
At around 10:15 am there is a power cut and the computers stop working. Long queues build-up opposite the inspection positions, but the electricity returns quickly and the people pass through without a long wait.
Apart from this, there have been no “exceptional events”, Many people passed through, and it was cold
Translator: Charles K.
A young woman with three little children tries to cross and fails; cf. the appendix at the end.
About 80 people wait outside at the only revolving gate that’s open. Three inspection booths are open inside. About 120 people on line there. Every 10-12 minutes, about 100 people are sent in for inspection. There’s congestion within, but almost no line outside. People get in line for the second revolving gate – but it doesn’t open. The soldier yells in Hebrew that the middle lane isn’t operating. But newcomers keep going there nevertheless, then begin shouting when it remains closed. The soldier yells in Arabic.
The line in the shed still isn’t long. About 120 people wait in the inspection lanes. 240 people entered for inspection during the past half hour.
Meanwhile an additional inspection lane opens – 4 out of 5. People ask why the revolving gate in the third lane doesn’t open – after all, only the second revolving gate is stuck. Ina makes a call and very soon, maybe because of the shouting and maybe because of her call, the third lane also opens. I stand next to it, exposed to a serious danger of nicotine poisoning. Dozens of starlings land on the iron points of the bars and the wire fence, conversing cheerfully. Everyone else is frozen from the cold and silent. The laborers toss their bags of food through the bars so they won’t be crushed as the lines advance.
Now there’s already a very long line reaching to the parking lot in front of the two open revolving gates. About 120 people waiting on line and more than 80 at the humanitarian gate that hasn’t opened yet. People are become increasingly agitated. During the past half hour, 260 people entered for inspection.
Shift change, and the fifth entry lane opens. The checkpoint is now operating at full capacity but the humanitarian lane still hasn’t opened. At 6:15 Ina calls the humanitarian office and reports that about 100 people are waiting on the humanitarian line. A female officer arrives, at 6:25 the gate opens and the 140 people waiting go through all at once. About half of them don’t appear to be humanitarian cases but no one inspects their documents and everyone enters.
120 people on line and another 50 at the humanitarian gate. During the past half hour, 500 people have crossed into the inspection area. The area inside is crowded and congested.
Two men crossed in 45 minutes. One from 5:45 to 6:30, the other from 6:15 to 7:00.
The line has shortened. 325 people entered for inspection during the past half hour.
Women and children hurry back and forth between the regular line and the humanitarian line, because they don’t know whether the latter will reopen. This wastes time and leads to confusion.
It’s almost empty outside. 300 people entered for inspection during the past half hour.
Angela, one of the ecumenical volunteers, got on line in the shed at 7:15 and came through inspection only at 8:05. A total of 50 minutes, at a time when there was no congestion at all.
We left the checkpoint through the vehicle crossing – crawling along for ten minutes until the inspection was completed.
Appendix: The mother and her three sons
As we noted above, this wasn’t a particularly crowded morning at the Qalandiya checkpoint. Most people managed to go through in 30-45 minutes, even during times when it was more congested.
A woman with three young sons wasn’t so lucky. They were stuck at the checkpoint for an hour and a half.
We first saw them shortly before 7:00, when the humanitarian crossing was empty and closed, standing in the middle of the long line that wound from the parking lot to the revolving gates. By chance she had chosen to stand at the farther gate which, as it turned out, only lengthened her wait.
Her sons captured our hearts. They were about 3, 4 and 5 years old, attractive, wearing identical sweaters, moving around their mother the whole time, and she constantly had to insure she didn’t lose sight of them and at the same time keep her place on line.
I recalled how, many years ago, I’d go out with my first two sons, when they were 3 or 4 years old, who were also identically dressed, either from maternal pride or a desire not to make one jealous of the other (why did you buy him a new one, and I get his cast-offs…). I was always tense, trying to keep the children from getting lost, from getting hurt…I’d come home with a splitting headache, and I hadn’t had to wait on line at the checkpoints. You could see, beneath the mother’s apparent calm, how she really feels, wanting to finish this nightmare, to reach the other side.
The eldest son, as expected, took responsibility. He closely watched the youngest, who was daring and tried to amuse himself by jumping and turning around in a way that was dangerous in the crowd at the checkpoint. The middle son was a real devil. He wasn’t still for a minute. Running around, shooting out between the adults’ legs, an angelic smile on his face and the mischievousness of a little terror. One of the sons picked up wrappers from the ground. The mother, in the midst of the congestion and filth, didn’t relinquish her educational role. She took him to a trash can, guiding his hand so he’ll throw the garbage where it belongs. The young mother impressed me.
Suddenly the humanitarian crossing opened. The mother hurried over, her three sons toddling behind her, through the mass of men toward the crossing. But by the time she got there the soldiers had already closed it and entered the control room.
She then got on the line at the first revolving gate to be closer to the humanitarian gate if it should open. We saw her and her sons standing quietly in the narrow, fenced passageway. Ina, who was shocked by the sight of the small children behind what looked like prison bars, asked the mother for permission to photograph the children who were hanging on the fence, grinning at us cheerfully. It seemed that, for them, the time at the checkpoint was exhilarating, a break in their routine.
At about 7:30 the mother and three sons went through the revolving gate and joined the line to inspection booth number 3. Angela, the ecumenical volunteer, had also reached it.
Bad luck continued to follow the mother and three sons. While the other four inspection lanes operated normally, it shortly became evident that the line on lane 3 wasn’t moving at all. The revolving gate remained closed for at least the next 25 minutes that Angela stood there, along with the young mother and her three little sons.
(A clarification: It’s not easy to determine that a gate is stuck. The revolving gate turns only every few minutes, and whoever is inside can’t compare how rapidly he’s advancing compared to people in other lines. Each crossing is physically separated from the others by walls and windows.)
The men let the mother and sons precede them all the way to the front of the line, and told Angela to move forward to find out why the revolving gate isn’t working.
They all had a long, exhausting morning. Some of the men began shouting and banging on the bars. The female soldier emerged from the inspection room, looked, probably saw the mother and three sons at the head of the line, but turned around and returned to the room without providing any information about why the gate was stuck.
Only then did the volunteer and the mother leave lane three and soon came out, through a different lane, into the autumn sunlight flooding over them on the other side of the checkpoint.
How different could everything be were it not for the war, for the occupation, the division – between them and us.
Translator: Charles K.
Because of what’s going on in Hebron we decided to devote most of the time to the Cordova school overlooking Beit Hadassah, that “pays the price” as a result.
On our way, “all we saw” were a police helicopter opposite the police station near the Shoket junction delivering a civilian into custody, and soldiers who came down from the pillbox at the Dura-Al Fawwar junction stopping cars and people for inspections that appear more rigorous than usual. The soldiers at Tel Rumeida and near the Cave of the Patriarchs are also stopping people and cars and diligently searching them and their belongings. The security forces seem to be behaving more strictly today. We wondered whether they think it necessary to “remind” people who’s in charge here, in the wake of the Shalit deal, viewed by those opposed to it as evidence of systemic weakness.
The Cordova school
When we arrived at the Tarpa”t checkpoint we were informed by the peace organizations that classes had resumed. We decided to visit and hear from the principal and teachers what they’d gone through.
When we reached the stairs leading up to the school, Noam Arnon shows up, and when he sees Angelika photographing the area of Beit Hadassah, says: “Go ahead, take pictures of the monsters.” Hagit reminds him that we don’t consider them “monsters;” “Even though you behave unjustly, you’re still human beings.” That “took the wind out of his sails.” He mutters something and drives on without “attacking” us.
(Apparently we’re the ones they consider monsters)
Graffiti on the school’s walls; it’s been there since August: “Hebron is ours, now and forever,” etc.
We ask how the strike ended. The principal says they opened the school again because on Thursday, 20.10.11, the settlers, led by Anat Cohen, threatened to “take it over.” “If the buildings are empty, we’ll take them,” she said. The school staff shows us the photos they took, the violence, curses and obscenities of that woman. Police and soldiers were present at the incident. None of them intervened, to stop the settlers’ violent behavior. On the other hand, they did detain the janitor for interrogation. [What bothers our forces is that their behavior is observed, not that they’re able to carry it out.] After this incident the teachers decided to open the school; only those who live nearby (so they don’t have to go through the checkpoint) teach all the class, assisted by volunteers. The other 19 teachers living in area H1 still don’t coming. We decide to call Colonel Guy Hazut, the commander of the Yehuda region brigade. (As far as we’re concerned, we have to support the Palestinians in their attempts to live as “normal” lives as possible and protect them against the settlers’ aggression, until the Occupation ends – ha ha ha ha). I add that in parentheses in response to accusations by those opposed to talking to the military authorities.
We are seeking a way to end the conflict and reinstate the previous arrangement, under which the teachers could enter through the regular gate without going though the scanner twice a day. There had never been any security problems with the teachers, and the school must begin operating normally again. To our surprise, Guy Hazut says he’s willing to cooperate with our “mediation.” Apparently no one wants “to take the risk of igniting the barrel of gunpowder that is Hebron.” Guy suggests they go back to work, and if for a week they go through without any problems, in accordance with the new arrangements, he’ll agree to let the teachers on the list pass through the gate that doesn’t have the scanner. We give the phone to the principal who speaks to Guy directly and finalizes the matter with him – something that, had we not been here, she would not have dared or been able to do. The representatives of the Hebron Department of Education who have been accompanying the principal since the crisis erupted are suspicious of the proposal; they don’t believe it. We ask the police and DCO staff to come to the school (because the teachers are afraid to go to the police, and no one answers their phone calls), speak to the teachers, hear and see at first hand what they went through. They agree to our request, and the principal asks us to stay on. Within half an hour police and a DCO major arrive. At first they focus on the graffiti and when it was written, but after a while they manage to talk about what’s important. The Palestinians again describe the anomalous situation of the pupils on their way to and from school, and the one-sided manner in which the police deal with their confrontations with the settlers. It’s not an easy conversation, but we’re pleased that in conclusion they provide a phone number to call and, most important, both sides agree that after the teachers go through the scanner for a week without objections the previous arrangement will be reinstated, which was so important because it gave those people, living under the constant threat of violence from Hebron settlers, a minimal sense of dignity and independence. We request the teachers to trust and give the authorities a chance to keep their promise. They understand, and agree.
Let’s hope this struggle ends and the school goes back to “normal”, despite Anat Cohen and her ilk… We, of course, will continue to be in touch with them.
We left exhausted.
Then we drove to Susia, because we’d read on Facebook that its school had been damaged. We were pleased to discover this wasn’t true.
Although people from the Civil Administration had come to demolish it, when they measured they found that the school was in Area B, so they turned around and left. What “luck.”
Our shift was very “educational.”
Translator: Charles K.
The photographs (see below, end of report) don’t do justice to the atmosphere, voices, odors and what morning feels like in this city.
A city overflowing with the ugliness, evil, violence and lawlessness of the settlers and the security forces, like nowhere else in Israel. A city seeking to embody ancient Jewish sanctity, tradition and culture, but which makes those passing through it feel only disgust and sorrow.
Nothing on our way to the city today hinted at what we’d find there. The trip was “normal” – the sights, the schoolchildren along the roads. We’d even recently noticed the improvements in Highway 60 after it was no longer an “apartheid” road, and is now filled with vehicles of every kind.
At the entrance to Kiryat Arba we got a taste of what was to come. The guard, a local, commented cynically, “You’ve come today also? Why?” They have the authority (or decided they do) to detain, interrogate, notify whoever must be notified, or even to deny entry to anyone they deem unworthy of entering the city of the patriarchs. He again wants to check only our driver’s ID (“I know it by heart,” he says proudly). Asks us to wait.
“Have you come because of the demonstration at the Police checkpoint?” He speaks into the walkie-talkie, sentence fragments about incitement, the situation heating up, etc. “I need authorization to let you enter.”
When we saw Ofer Ohana waiting and photographing us we understood whom the guard was coordinating with.
“What do you think?,” I ask the guard at the entrance. “That when you come to Omer to visit we’ll stop you and decide whether to let you in?” He stammers some response and allows us to continue.
All along the road from the entrance to Hebron to the Cave of the Patriarchs and its surroundings are soldiers, also on the rooftops. Buses with visitors coming for Sukkot begin arriving, although the “Jewish exception” days are only tomorrow and Tuesday. Everything’s already closed today, full of security personnel.
But when we reached the Tarpat checkpoint, which the army calls the Police checkpoint, we saw Ofer taking photographs and, as usual, talking uninterruptedly. Many peace groups and security forces are on the Palestinian side of the checkpoint. Teachers from the Cordova school are organizing a demonstration.
The IDF’s battle against the teachers of Hebron’s Cordova school:
A little history and explanation
Cordova is a private girls' school on a hill opposite Beit Hadassah and other educational institutions in Hebron’s Jewish quarter. Due to its “problematic” location, its entrance steps are blocked by concertina wire; alternative steps, steep and dangerous, have been installed on the other side of the hill. To prevent Palestinians from walking along this section of the street, they’ve all been ordered to make a detour and go up on the other side.
Our struggle to restore access to Shuhada street wasn’t successful, but at
least a railing was installed and the stairs somewhat improved. Pupils and teachers from Tel Rumeida and other neighborhoods come to school every morning through checkpoints and via detours. About four years ago the teachers requested to be allowed through without being required to pass through the magnemometer twice a day on their way to school and on the way home, because they’re known and are permanent staff members. Most of them are young, some are pregnant; they were concerned about effects on their health and also felt entitled to minimal respect and trust. The previous principal said she recognized the right of Jews to live here, but that they themselves should be allowed an equal right. After much effort, the IDF understood that security wouldn’t be reduced if a specific group of women were permitted to go through an alternate opening twice a day, without having to go through the scanner, and that’s what happened. We thought the army wouldn’t be bothered by the fact that Hebron residents might feel they’d achieved a slight victory, and that the “generosity” it had displayed would be to its benefit. It turns out we were mistaken. Recently the army decided to reinstitute the previous arrangement. “Why?,” we asked the deputy brigade commander, a tough, energetic guy who explained that there’s different intelligence information today, and everyone must go through the magnemometer.
The school has been shut since last Tuesday. The teachers demonstrate until the afternoon, and then hold classes there, not at the school. When we arrived we saw a teacher being dragged and arrested by Border Police soldiers, and forced into a patrol car. Ofer says he saw and photographed her slapping a female soldier. “Arrest her?! She should be killed!” he shouts, adding comments about us that make the cellphone blush. We speak to the deputy brigade commander who says he’ll “interrogate her and decide what to do.”
The demonstration continues (photos, middle); additional forces arrive with various pieces of equipment. After about an hour, two important Palestinian personages arrive from Area H1. They introduce themselves as Ministry of Education officials. A short discussion with one officer, and wonder of wonders: the criminal who slapped the soldier is released and goes off with the officials (photos, bottom). Someone apparently understood or realized that even if the Palestinian woman dared refuse an order to move back, that didn’t justify her detention. “But now they’ll pay. We never lose a battle,” the soldiers say.
The teacher went home and more forces came and began firing stun grenades and tear gas. Then came a rain of stones. We call the brigade commander, Col. Guy Hazut. He explains patiently and at length that there were a number of incidents in the wake of which they decided to close the alternate entry, and require everyone to go through the magnemometer.
“What happened?,” we ask. “Did the teachers do something? Allow anything? Did you find something in the school?”
“No, they caught a boy with a box cutter, and other such things.”
That’s apparently the intelligence information on the basis of which IDF officers reached the simplistic solution of punishing everyone crossing here and withdrawing the minor humanitarian concession whose previous "achievement" proved so meaningful to the local population. We continue talking to him, trying to explain that such an incident can only worsen the atmosphere in this sensitive location. We suggest they indicate the change is temporary, because of the holidays, and when they’re over the previous arrangement will be reinstated.
The brigade commander promises to consider it, while his diligent deputy continues to blow up the neighborhood.
“Right, we have to show them! Now it’s Sukkot, the people of Israel have to come pray, the day after tomorrow their prisoners are being released, they musn’t forget who’s in charge here.”
Quiet returns. Tomorrow and the following day are “Jewish exception” days. The number of soldiers everywhere, from many field units, is unbelievable. Tomorrow, probably no one will be allowed to move.
Hebron’s Jews, meanwhile, stroll dressed in white, waving etrogs and lulavs among the soldiers and at every corner. Sheltered by a true canopy of peace.
We drove to see what was happening in the area of the terrible attack which killed a father and his infant son on Route 60, near Route 35. We reached Beit Anun. Soldiers have settled on the roof of the house overlooking the road, employing the “straw widow” procedure (soldiers taking over a Palestinian home and removing its residents from the roof and/or upper floors). We went in to see whether they’d provided a document explaining their actions and confirming the inhabitants’ rights.
“Great,” they provided it. But it doesn’t include the name of the family who’s entitled to demand compensation for damages. So when they try to submit a claim, who’ll pay any attention to this non-specific document? It’s worth no more than toilet paper. The family shows us broken windows – settlers broke them a few days earlier. The police came but did nothing. The soldiers are only on the roof. They arrived today; the family doesn’t know when they’ll leave. We ask the soldiers not to further burden the family by using the roof as a toilet, with all that involves.
“We’re not animals,” they reply.
“True. But sometimes, without even noticing, people act like animals.”
We’ll follow up.
We’re treated sternly. Interrogated – where did we come from, whom did we meet, with whom did we talk. We made an appointment with Zion, the manager of the crossing, for next week. He’s insulted and angry. He says we wrote lies about him. We’ll listen, and have our say.
Translation: Bracha B.A.
Meitar Sansana Crossing
At 07:00 the crossing is filled with people and cars with Palestinian license plates. The crossing into Israel takes place quickly. A bus with prisoners' families stops and unloads its human cargo next to the shed. The families cross immediately in groups and there was no delay.
While we were observing people on the Palestinian side of the border, Paula met an old acquaintance selling sesame bagels from a small crate. His name is Musa Samon Taimani (Phone 02211343). He hitched a ride from Hebron because the Israeli authorities confiscated his car a year ago, which he used to make a living for himself and his family. He has no money to redeem the confiscated vehicle, which would coast NIS 3,500 plus a fee for a lawyer. He has given up and we had little to offer him besides purchasing his bagels and taking his picture. "Maybe that will help," says Musa. .
We continued driving on Route 60. There was a lot of traffic near Dahariya. The sheep market is open today. Mohammed says that it is less expensive to buy mutton here in Lakiya. A lot of children are walking along the side of the road on their way to school. The fields are turning green, the weather is pleasant – idyllic.
We entered Kiryat Arba and saw the illegal settlement of Avihai on our right – one of many illegal settlements that has been uprooted again and again, but is now a full-fledged neighborhood! There are nine wooden houses and a storeroom. A large sukkah has been erected next to Goldstein's grave and another one is standing next to the "tent" synagogue at the entrance to Hebron. From the car Hebron appears to be asleep. A man with a camera is standing next to the Tarpat Junction next to the Hebron one. Everything appears quiet but earlier that morning teachers from the Kordova School were not allowed to cross at the regular crossing without an X-ray machine and there was a quarrel with the soldiers who were guarding there. We only read about this the next day. . We drank fresh hot tea at Abed's store and while we were drinking two 17-year-old settler youths pedaled by on bicycles. When they saw Abed pouring tea they shouted curses and continued on their way. Abed said quietly, "They're trash."
We continued on to Route 317. Mohammed showed us the "discovery" made yesterday - dirt mounds in the form of roadblocks along the road. It is very quiet. This is an extremely poor rural area. It is good to see that new wells are being dug and there are three or four new fields being tilled, but that's all. That's all that is there. Near the settlement of Avigail there is a sign inviting people to join the new agricultural settlement. The entrance to the settlement has been widened and renovated and there is a new asphalt road at the entrance to Assael.
Jalameh Checkpoint (Gilboa Crossing)
We drove Hala, a little girl and her mother, from Rambam Hospital to the checkpoint. This crossing functions as a legitimate border crossing which is what it should be. The crossing is quiet and no workers are crossing at this point.
A'anin Checkpoint: 15:15
The checkpoint opens at 15:00 and people are returning from their day's work on foot, one person on a bicycle, and on half a dozen tractors. People are checked opposite the gate. A woman officer and several armed soldiers call people into the checkpoint one at a time. Some of them were seen pulling their pants up after being checked. Bags and the contents of the tractors are meticulously checked. People tell me that someone was not allowed to bring in used clothinghe's been given. Another person asked me if I had brought towels. (I was not aware that anyone had asked for any.)
1. About 200 people received permits to go through the checkpoint for the olive harvest. People are asking when the checkpoint will be opened on a daily basis (A'anin is an agricultural checkpoint that is opened only on Mondays and Thursdays and daily during the olive harvest). There are already olives ready to be picked. The area needs to be cleaned and prepared for the olive harvest. We told people to call the Liaison and Coordination Administration and they reported that there was no answer.
2. People in A'anin appealed to have the checkpoint opened daily. I encouraged them to do as the people in Tura had done – to collect money and hire a lawyer. They said that there is no problem and that there is money and I promised to find out the name of an attorney who could help them and to contact them.
The checkpoint was almost empty. An elderly Palestinian was waiting in the container and I did not find out whether he was going to or from Barta'a or why he was waiting. The checkpoint is open from 06:00-10:00 and from 12:00 to 19:30.
I was only able to stay for a short time. I saw employers dropping off workers at the entrance to the terminal but didn't stay for the rush hour.
Bethlehem- Checkpoint 300: we arrived at 07:15 and found a madhouse. Those outside already told us that the crossing was very difficult today. People have been waiting for hours.
We entered the terminal; three windows were open, with no congestion in the exit hall. There was yelling from the other side; we understood that the laborers were extremely jumpy.
It’s easy to understand why: after four days of involuntary vacation, Sunday finally arrives and people can go back to work. But no! The lengthy time it took to cross made many laborers retrace their steps because they wouldn’t get to work on time. Everyone was on their cell-phones to notify their employers that they’re “stuck,” and apparently were told that their rides would no longer wait for them. Tension continued to increase, as did the shouting. We (Sylvia and Chana Barag) also made many calls, but nothing changed as a result. Only one booth was open on the Bethlehem side, and crossing went extremely slowly.
We received conflicting information regarding the hour at which the checkpoint opened: one person said it opened only at 06:30; Itzik, the policeman, who suddenly appeared from within said it opened at 05:15. The response, or lack of response, from those inside (the checkpoint commander, for example), who sounded “surprised” when we told them of the uproar outside, of course, only a pretense, because the shouting is audible from a distance. The general indifference is astonishing in its crudeness, evidence of the insensitivity of those at the top of the pyramid, in this case the terminal commander.
At 07:30 there was a loud noise from the other side, perhaps to frighten the laborers. Who knows what it was.
A group of Muslim women with children comes out with permits (of course). They’re going on a trip to Ramat-Gan and are excited finally to see the ocean!! The children in particular are excited.
07:50 - terrible shouts on the Bethlehem side. What’s happening? Who knows? The hall suddenly fills, but meanwhile one window has closed, leaving only two open.
08:15 - now the hall is very congested, but still only two windows are open. People are jittery, annoyed and desperate.
08:25 - a third window opens.
08:30 - people who went through go back to where they came from.
08:35 - reports of a lot of people outside, on the Bethlehem side.
08:45 - after a frightening silence on the unseen side, the hall fills again. With three windows open, crossing goes fairly quickly.
09:00 - the other side is still full, as is the hall. We leave. It seems that most people will soon have crossed.
09:10 - we sit in the car, see Palestinian bus No. 24 leave the station filled with laborers.
A very bad day at Checkpoint 300!
Etzion DCL: at 09:30 only one person is in the waiting room. There are apparently a few people within the office. A few minutes later one Palestinian laborer who apparently went to work in Tzur Hadassah – with a permit for Beitar Illit – came back . He was caught by the Border Police who confiscated his permit; now he has a problem. We gave him Chaya A.’s phone number.
Translating: Ruth Fleishman
Qalandiya checkpoint (photo: Behing the wall) :
Palestinian friends that witnessed the women's demonstration on the previous day said that during the time it was taking place, the checkpoint had been closed from both sides for two hours. They testified that cement bricks were brought ten days before hand, they were used to block the roads and had been carried from the side of the roads to their center a day in advance and the way leading to and from Ramallah was blocked up until Sunday.
Only two lanes were active at the pedestrian checkpoint. Suddenly, as though they had been given a green signal, the two had stopped operating and no one was allowed in the inspection area. The lines grew wider and longer. Not only that no explanation was given, but all the soldiers had disappeared and the post at the end of our lane (no. 2) remained empty. After a nerve wracking twenty minutes, and not before we called the operation room receptionist to asked whether the checkpoint was closed for passage, the checkpoint was activated again.
At the waiting shed at the entrance to the checkpoint we met to desperate women from Gaza: the young one was a woman who went through a medical procedure in her eyes at the hospital in Ramallah and the other was her escort (probably her mother). Their permits had expired on Saturday. The DCO in Gaza that had been handling their case over the phone allowed them to pass a day later. When they gave the inspecting soldier their original "Tasrih", he confiscated the document and banished them from the site. Had the inspector behind the shielded window checked these women's information on the computer (as they had asked him) he would have known that a new permit was waiting for them at the DCO. When we asked the soldiers agreed to check their ID numbers, but by then it was too late, the DCO offices had already closed and no one was to be found there.
The women were forced to return to Ramallah, rent a hotel room and return to the checkpoint on the next day.
Apart for a group of soldiers who had their rifles pointing at vehicles, a dog trainer and a dog with a muzzle on his mouth were also at the site. The checkpoint commander crossed the road towards us and in an instance started giving us his long speech, it was full of arguments against our presence and it start with: "you are endangering yourselves…", and continued with: "your presence is distracting my soldiers…", following this sentence came: "I don't like seeing you endangering soldiers….", and he even tried this one: "nothing is going on over here, it's a real bore!..."
We answered that we were going to stay and document, that we weren't concerned for our safety, that we had no intentions of talking to the soldiers and that we were not endangering them, and that we would overcome the boredom that he promised us.
He got back to the post and after several minutes the soldiers stopped a car, the driver got out of it, the muzzle was taken off the dog who sniffed the car from all sides, his trainer opened the doors and being so familiar with the job, he got inside, sat on the driver's seat and then wondered off to the rest of the seats, once he finished his task in a manner that satisfied his lady, he received signs of affection from her. Only then was the vehicle given back to its owner who was permitted to head on.
Translation: Bracha B.A.
Reihan Checkpoint – 05:55
The women workers are ascending the sleeve towards the waiting cars and are smiling. "Today is OK - it only took us a half hour to get through." People are coming out quickly and there are two operating windows inside the terminal. A pregnant student who crosses from Barta'a to Jenin every day confides that she is concerned about passing through the X-ray machine every day. We called Sharon, the checkpoint manager, who ensured us that the machine is safe
We met a man who has a job request from a contractor in Hadera, but he has been forced to run back and forth between Salem and the employment agency in Hadera, with no results so far.
There are workers who live near the Shaked checkpoint who work in the Shahak industrial zone near the settlement of Shaked, but since that checkpoint only opens at 07:00 they have to cross at Reihan checkpoint. Since they must return via the same checkpoint at which they left, they have to travel to Reihan both times.
06:30 – Fewer people are coming out. The terminal is empty and people are crossing through quickly.
Ramadan is over and the clocks in the West Bank are once again synchronized with Israel. The checkpoint opens at 07:03 and about 15 people enter from the West Bank side. The first person comes out on the seamline zone side at 07:10 and people come out every 1-2 minutes. At 07:15 children from the "lone house" arrive at the checkpoint. There are so many boulders and walls that it is difficult to see how they are checked. A van arrives with 23 children, and a woman soldier checks their bags while three armed security guards look on. The children and the van cross within 5 minutes. At 07:30 cars cross through in both directions.
We returned to Haifa with 3 small children accompanied by their mother and uncle and drove them to Rambam Hospital. The father is unable to come because is barred from entering Israel for 6 months. He did not receive a work permit because he was not yet 30 years old (he was two months short of 30). Since he has three sick children and needed NIS 200 each week to cover their medical expenses, he took his chances and went to work in Israel anyway. He was caught and faced trial. His attorney fought for him and a humane judge sentenced him to only 6 months probation during which he is barred from entering Israel (instead of two years). .