Translated by Ruth Fleishman
The relics from the Fridays of the Ramadan months were still detectable. Cement blocks were scattered on the roads, narrowing the lanes and along the separation wall was another ,paralle,l separation wall (shorter than the first) with an open gate at the center, "the revolving door" the soldiers called it, "the gate of the rejected" was how we call it (Ruti Barkay coined the phrase).
Through it they banished the women who did not comply with the age criterion. The pictures of Moatassem Adwan and Ali Khalifa, who were murdered at the refugee camp, were still hanging for the separation wall and fences.
Al Jib checkpoint:
"The DCO should check whether he isn't 'refused passage'- and I'll cross!", the checkpoint commander notified his supervisors on the radio link in regards to a dying man who was being transferred to Mukased hospital.
In addition the commander read out loud the man's medical chart. After all, people who have no rights don't have a medical confidentiality either. The Palestinians inside and around the checkpoint, the numerous soldiers and us, heard all the details. We heard that the man was unconscious, that he had cancer and that he had a wide range of additional illnesses.
Luckily for the Palestinian the DCO answered that the man was "clean". Otherwise, perhaps once again an unconscious person with only hours to live (the ambulance driver whispered to us), would rise from his death bed and endanger the country.
During that hour in the day the laborers make their way home after working in the surrounding settlement. Many stopped to tell us that the checkpoint commander, a BP officer who arrives there once in every two or three weeks, doesn't allow the residents of the nearby villages, who work in Jerusalem, to cross this checkpoint when heading back, he sends them to Qalandiya or Zaitim.
This trip not only takes them a long time but is also very costly.
Translation: Ruth Fleishman
Third Friday of the Ramadan
"Not yet fifty" was the key phrase.
On the morning of the third Friday of the Ramadan all the rule regulating the passage had changed: the criterions were more severe and all praying permits were cancelled. Fifty was the minimum age. Those younger by only a couple of days, men as well as women, with or without permits, were declined passage. Several hours later (at eight o'clock according to the officers), after the thousands that had wished to cross the checkpoint during the morning hours left in desperation, this "equality" between the genders was lifted and only the usual rules regarding women were implemented.
Two different groups were there, the group inside and the one outside.
Various military unites were inside, in the sterile zone, protected from grenades and rifles in the fortified site that was barricaded by metal fences, cement blockings and barbed wire.
While outside, surrounding the site, were thousands of men, women and children that had gathered from all around the West Bank, asking to realize the promise made by the sovereign who is obligated to protect the right for freedom of religion.
Order, discipline and hierarchy controlled the inside group, while the outside group was controlled by surprise, rage and chaos.
People who had just a couple of days earlier received signed permits from the authorities that were to be used on that day, witnessed how the same hands that gave them their permits, denied both it and them with a simple hand gesture and a rude voice.
Many men who up until the previous night were old enough to cross, had that morning become a threat, they ran helplessly between the gates, holding their documents out as evidence of their right, trying their luck for the second, the third and the fourth time.
But the gates and cracks were tighter than ever. The sterility was backed up with fishers' nets (in the military lingo) and almost no loopholes were to be found. The few, mostly teenage girls, that managed to slip passed the first row of soldiers, were caught soon enough and sent back through the "gate of the denied" which was a kind of "revolving door".
People from east Jerusalem found it hard to get back home: "not yet fifty" was the key phrase…
Among the people who were trying their luck was a person who two weeks earlier was framed by the soldiers, an event which we witnessed. The person told us that at the beginning he was taken to the police station at the checkpoint, from there he was transferred to Atarot and at the end of the day he found himself incarcerated in Ofer. In the mean time, while making their way from one place to the other, the people transferring him beat him. It was only on Sunday, two day after his arrest, that he was released on a 5,000 Shekel bail.
The link to the video documenting the event:
Two of the senior officers that commanded and supervised the event had a conversation: "Lots persons who are illegally staying in Israel cross here!..." said one to the other and they both nodded. Worried in face of the many people cramped up and the few that managed to pass, when the only criterion was the age specified on the person's ID, they didn't seem uncomfortable nor did they seem to dwell on the absurdity of the sight before them.
As the hours passed and the hour of the prayer in Jerusalem approached, the checkpoint was closed to elder men as well. It was the hour in which even the person's age didn't matter anymore. At the eastern side of the site, those who stood at the men's gate keeled on the ground and prayed in front of cement bricks, barricades, barbed wire and heavy machinery, before the eyes of the soldiers who saw and ignored this.
Usually, at that point the laws regulating the passage are once again as before. However, this wasn't the case on that Friday. Closure was the regulation that faced those who waited for it to be noon, so that they could cross with use of their permits to Jerusalem. They were denied and sent home in shame, with a sound of the fortified soldier behind the front window, screaming at them.
08:00 - Shaked-Tura checkpoint
Every vehicle which arrived, from either side, was inspected and drove away within five minutes .
People went into the inspection cabin and walked out after three minutes.
It appears that all is well, but before nine o'clock five went inside for inspection, three women and two men on their way from Daher-el-Malec into the West Bankhey went in and came out of the inspection cabin a few times and in the end didn't go through. One of them explained to me that one of the women, an attractiveyoung woman, wore earrings which beeped during the inspection. She was told to remove her Hijab which covered the earrings and she refused. The rest didn't want to go without her. When the soldiers watched me calling the DCO, she was called by the Sergeant who asked her what was whistling she answered that those were her earrings and that she wasn't going to take off her Hijab. The Sergeant reconsidered. consulted, made a phone call and allowed her to go through.
09:15- All had crossed over.
09:25 - Reihan-Barta'a checkpoint
Three huge trucks loaded with goods waited for inspection. There weren't too many cars at the car park, perhaps it has to do with the Palestinian clock that at this time stands on 08:25 only.
During my shift two more trucks had arrived as well as three commercial vans, all drove straight into the inspection area.
Pedestrians who arrived on site, went straight into the terminal.
10:30 Before I left, I saw soldiers, policemen and drivers at the upper car park in an argument. One of the Palestinian said that the soldier argued with a cab driver and following that policemen and more soldiers arrived on site.
On my way to East Barta'a I saw signs of fire next to the shooting range by the side of the road. Olive trees were burnt.
Translator: Charles K.
First Friday of Ramadan
The radio reported that 95,000 people came to pray at Al Aksa, adding that 60,000 passed through Qalandiya. In other words: Most of the worshippers came through Qalandiya. But what’s more important: How many came to Qalandiya and couldn’t go through?
We arrived at 10:00 – actually, 9:00 Palestine time; the morning and afternoon shifts should remember this. The same arrangements as last year, men cross on the eastern side, through the regular pedestrian crossing. Women go through on the west through the vehicle lane. The parking area is completely closed off. Women go through three inspection stations. Initial screening, everyone who doesn’t meet the “criteria” is sent back, then an additional inspection!
Sheets of blue fabric shade the area; later we learned that this was a Palestinian initiative. Many Red Cross personnel with wheelchairs. A Palestinian organization distributes baseball caps to the children. Very many soldiers of different ranks from various units – from a private to a brigadier general who stops by. Civilian security personnel, Border Police, DCO staff and additional forces, all “guarding punctiliously” - each other as well. Making sure everyone follows orders. Everything must be organized.
Snipers along the wall ready for action; there’s also a soldier with a rifle and telescopic sight in the pillbox. And everything is, in fact, organized. The women go through, not crowded together as in previous years, but it’s the first Friday, when there are fewer worshippers.
After the first screening, many women are sent to the “rejection gate,” where the true picture is visible to observers. Families arriving with children “the wrong age” face a problem: go on to pray anyway, after having risen early, travelled far and probably spent a considerable sum on transportation, or take the boy or girl home? And if they do go through, how will the child get home on their own (!?)
Moreover, the separate lines for men and women, which is certainly good for the women, divides family members who arrived together and are going to prayers together. Children must go through with a biological parent and a birth certificate. Sons are allowed to accompany a mother, but we saw a girl who came with her father and was allowed to cross only after a discussion, and he went through the men’s lane. Some give up; others continue nevertheless. Occasionally someone tried a second time (after having been turned back) and did manage to get through.
The soldiers don’t always know the rules either, and the Border Police soldiers must correct them so they’ll let holders of blue (Israeli) ID cards cross regardless of their age.
A 49 year old man in a wheelchair who’d suffered a stroke wanted to go pray. Maybe next year, when he’s old enough to cross, he’ll no longer be alive. Permission denied.
And, of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without the kind of trivial incident that exposes the violence of the ruler toward the ruled: a man, apparently suffering from a developmental disability, reached out to help someone from the DCO lower the awning. The soldier thought he was being attacked, fell upon the Palestinian, called for the Border Police force, there was a scuffle, the Palestinian ran wild, began yelling, “I just wanted to help him...,” wanting them to understand that he’s the victim. It’s clear what happens next: “Turn him over to the Israeli police!”, and they drag him in. Tamar and Tami G. documented the incident.
As the time to cross was drawing to an end – 12:30-13:00 Israel time – At the women’s crossing they’re not giving up!!! Young women with their young children face the soldiers stubbornly. They know they won’t be able to cross but don’t waive their right to protest. They don’t move, argue in Arabic. “It doesn’t matter that the soldier doesn’t understand – I say what I think!”
12:15 A special police force is deployed to disperse a violent demonstration of about 50 men, all nearing the age of 50 – and thus not yet permitted to cross – who nevertheless hoped to participate in the important services…
The officer gives an order and two horizontal lines of policemen with plastic shields and foam rubber guards on their shoes move the demonstrators a few dozen meters away from the crossing.
A final comment about “criteria” and permits: According to what’s written, women up to the age of 45 need a permit; children up to the age of 12 may cross with a parent; men over 50 don’t need a permit.
A woman from Jenin told us she arrived without having tried to obtain a permit – only two of 65 requests submitted by people she knew were approved.
There’s nothing to add regarding “criteria” for worship. For years I’ve been imagining an absurd scene: Near my home on Shivtei Yisrael Street in Jerusalem (along which people walk from Mea Shearim to the Western Wall), “criteria” are applied to determine whether or not men and women will be allowed to go pray.
Translation: Bracha B.A.
Shaked-Tura Checkpoint, 12:25-13:10
An Israeli car is parked inside the area of the checkpoint (parents visiting?). In the area of the tower a maintenance crew is digging and building something. The driver of a Palestinian car greets us while threading his belt into his pants after being checked. He gets into his car and drives up to the soldiers, who ask him how things are going, check him briefly, and he leaves.
There is light traffic in both directions. Two cars drive up and workers get out. Several 14-year olds get out and show the soldiers their bag. One of them says that he has a permit. The soldiers check the bag and they move on.
Cars arrive from the seamline zone. Two women get out. One is a young, carrying an infant wrapped in a blanket, and the other is older. Another girl is with them. It takes a long time until the mother is allowed to enter the inspection facility. We call to the soldiers and remind them that a mother with a baby is waiting. One of the soldiers goes to see what the problem is. "Perhaps something happened to the computer." Meanwhile the older woman sits down on the ground. We note how long the inspection process takes for the mother and baby. Evidently people also arrived from the West Bank with a baby together with a man with bags of zucchini. It seems that the woman with the baby has been waiting long, but when she comes out it appears that the entire process took 15 minutes.
More women and children cross in both directions.
Suddenly a woman soldier comes up to me. I thought she was about to tell us to move back but instead she handed me a cold drink. I was surprised and thanked her.
We left and gave the man with the bags of zucchini a ride.
Reihan-Barta'a Checkpoint, 13:20-4:00
On our way to the Bedouin village of Emricha to bring bags of used clothing we passed four military vehicles conducting an exercise. The lower parking lot is full.
We returned to the checkpoint. Here, too, there’s construction work in the area of the vehicle inspection facility. We listen to Y.M., a driver who is trying to make a living. He and his wife live in Barta'a. His wife has brain cancer and was operated on in Jordan and is now being treated in Jenin. Her condition is serious and they have three children. Her sister who has no children lives in Jenin and wants to help but has not received a permit to travel to Barta'a in the seamline zone. We want to help them, and if anyone knows how we can help we have their names and contact information.
There is no one crossing the checkpoint and we left.
The beurocratic system defeated the lonely eighty year old woman and the many volunteeres who tried to help her reach the other side of the checkpoint:
"She does not belong to this DCO zone…"
The father of a baby of fourteen days, who had been born with brain damage and was in need of intrusive treatment, had also been defeated by bureaucracy:
"Driver! – Only one person can be the escort and that's mommy. Take daddy back!"
Claimed the soldier/commander once the baby had been transferred from one ambulance to the other, while taking her out of the West Bank plastic box (emergency kit) and placing her in the Jerusalem box, a procedure during which they disconnected her head from the West Bank tubes and reattached it to the Jerusalem tubes.
"Security above All!"- The security man who stood by her quoted the entire doctrine.
14.50 A'anin CP
Four tractors and six people are already waiting. Five soldiers are also here. They do not open the CP. They are punctual. They open exactly at 15.00. Very carefully, they inspect the bags of used clothes that we have brought. They do not allow the last tractor driver to go through with the bags of clothes. In the meantime, a woman officer has gone through, in a Hummer, and she said that it is not allowed. That is what the (sergeant) commander of the CP tells us. We did not succeed in getting the order cancelled. The officer ordered it, says the sergeant. For the honor of the IDF and the State of Israel!
The father of the fellow whose ID and permit were taken from him last week (report of the 19 of May), tells us that the ID was returned, but his son has to request a new permit from the Palestinian DCO in Jenin. He is very grateful to Shula who took care of getting the ID returned to him.
15.20 We leave. The soldiers have to stay until 15.30. The sergeant says that another person may yet arrive to go through (according to the lists in the computer, all those who went out in the morning must return).
15.30 Shaked-Tura CP
There is a little traffic from the West Bank to the seamline zone. Only one small colorful truck goes through to the West Bank.
16.00 Reihan-Barta'a, seamline zone side
People, women and children who came out of the terminal are climbing up the sleeve. The children are especially festive. It turns out that the season of weddings has arrived. One man tells us that his wife is from East Barta'a (in the seamline zone) and he is from A'anin (on the West Bank). The woman got a permit to stay in Barta'a for half a year and he got a permit only for three days. Their children go to school in Barta'a. They went to a lawyer to help them get permanent residence permits for the seamline zone.
To our surprise at this time there is already a queue of 30 people at the entrance to the terminal, even though two windows are in operation. For reasons that are not clear to us, the people are told to enter in pairs or in fours and the turnstile is locked behind them. The passage in the opposite direction – to the seamline zone, slows the procedure even more. Three people are detained on the bench in the terminal. One man says that the passage in this CP is like an extra day's work.
16.40 The three detainees are released and sent on their way. A family goes through with little girls all dressed up. The adult women do not want us to talk to them. The tempo of the passage improves somewhat.
17.00 We go up the sleeve to the upper parking lot. In front of the vehicle CP four cars are waiting for passage to the West Bank. Two of them are 'wedding cars', decorated with ribbons and flowers. The groom in a shining shirt draws his magnetic card at the inspection window. Four of the women from his family stand beside him. Good luck to all of them!
Etzion DCL :
unbelievable! Everyone who was waiting got in, and by closing time they’d all come out. True, not many people were waiting today, perhaps because of the closure; and it’s true that things went very slowly today and people had to wait for hours, and it’s true that suddenly everything stopped and no one was allowed in or came out, and people were again let in only after we contacted the humanitarian office, but, despite it all, a success story – by the end of the day everyone had been taken care of.
when we arrived we saw two men who had come out holding magnetic cards. They told us six people were waiting inside. Seven waited at the revolving gate, and three more in the waiting room.
a man came out who said he’d been waiting since ten. After a long break, and a call to the humanitarian office, a woman came out at 14:25.
At 14:40a young man came out, followed by a teacher we’d met two weeks ago who had to return today. She looked tired but satisfied.
Not everyone came out satisfied. A man with an appointment for an eye operation in a Jerusalem hospital who didn’t receive a permit to enter the city because the Shin Bet objects came out disappointed and worried.
A woman from Beit Jala who had been refused a magnetic card because “today they’re only handling residents of Bethlehem, not Beit Jala,” also came out disappointed.
A man approached us. He said that his house, which is near the DCL, has no water or electricity. Despite his requests, he’s not being allowed to connect to the electrical and water grids that serve the settlers whose groves surround his house. He’s forced to buy water and have it delivered by tanker to his house, and it lasts only a few days.
A short while ago he began installing a bathroom in the courtyard of his house, but one of the settlers demand he stop and threatened to harm him if he continues.
At 15:00 five people were let in.
At 15:45 the rest were let in and the waiting room was empty.
By 16:45 they’d all come out, one after another.
A young man approached us, complaining that the Shin Bet is pressuring him to collaborate. They say, “Help us – and we’ll help you.” We’ve already heard this identical complaint – in the same words – a number of times. An older man told us he owns land and is being pressured to sell. He refuses. He’s being threatened.
Does this remind you of a story in the bible? Maybe it reminds us about Nabot the Jezre’elite?
Translator: Charles K.
Just before leaving for the checkpoint I noticed that day’s headline on Ma’ariv’s back page: “A creative checkpoint.” That’s the title they gave to the article by Ahikam Moshe David, who reported on the “key verses” written by the commander of the military police battalion to guide the behavior of soldiers at the checkpoint. The article quoted them liberally: “Even if I know you/I won’t let you go through,” “If there’s a mob/We’re doing our job,” “In a trunk that won’t open/There’s an illegal person,” etc. The article also says that the fact that “no complaints have been filed against the soldiers” is proof that “they are careful to treat the Palestinian population very well.”
I brought the newspaper along to my shift (unfortunately, it doesn’t appear on Ma’ariv’s web site). I wanted Tamar to be happy also; for eight years, week after week, she’s been observing the hardships of the Palestinians at the Qalandiyya checkpoint. Zerocomplaints – what fantastic proof!
We arrived at the checkpoint about 15:00, and after observing the vehicle crossing we went to say hello to the children: the children from the refugee camp selling bottled water or chewing gum for one shekel, doing the best they can to help their families who are living on the verge of starvation.
At about 15:30 we went over to the pedestrian crossing.
Only two of the five booths – number 2 and 4 – at the pedestrian crossing were manned, even though the lines at them were long and moved slowly. While I haven’t spent a great deal of time at the Qalandiyya checkpoint, I’ve been here more than a few times, and have never seen more than three booths open simultaneously. Regardless of the length of the line, the long waiting time, or the congestion outside – they don’t open additional booths. And the Palestinians wait.
Fifty minutes – fifty minutes by the clock to reach the head of the line. Fifty minutes of listening to the grating metallic voice on the loudspeaker, belonging to the soldier in the glass cage at the entrance to the checkpoint - who’s in charge of opening the first revolving gate - and who decided to check the loudspeaker was operating correctly by stridently calling out “one, two, three; one, two, three,” over and over again.
Fifty minutes during which we repeatedly saw people going to Gate 5 – the one to the DCO, which is supposed to be open to the public until 16:00 – but remained closed.
The intercom that had been installed at the gate had been pried off, and there was no one to turn to. No person, no soldier, no policeman or other functionary whom one could see or talk to at the Qalandiyya checkpoint. They’re all concealed behind sealed, dirty, soundproof windows. All that someone needing the DCO could do was to shove his face between the bars of the revolving gate, try to push through the bars, hoping someone might see, might come. But nobody came. People waiting at the checkpoint explained that this gate is never manned, but that soldiers manning booth 4 come from time to time to the window overlooking this gate. But after 15:00 they usually don’t come over…
We spoke with a young woman who showed an interest in our badge. She’s a Palestinian, born in Jenin, who left years ago and moved to Australia. Two months ago one of her brothers fell seriously ill – he’s 40. Since then he’s been in Al Makassed Hospital, in Jerusalem. None of the family members received a permit to be with, or visit him in the hospital. All of them are “denied” passage. Having no alternative, and since she has an Australian passport, she was called back to be with him. Every day, for the past two weeks, she’s endured the torments of the round-trip journey between Jenin and Jerusalem.
“Yesha is fun,” [a play on the Hebrew slogan, “Yesha – Judea and Samaria – hu kan” – here], declared a headline in Ma’ariv six months ago. “A new book on pampering beyond the Green Line,” was the sub-heading. The Second Channel TV news also was part of the book’s publicity campaign. The book, according to the report, “lists all the welcoming locations in Judea and Samaria. And it also includes ideology: normalcy, to convince readers there’s no difference between Samaria and the Golan, or between Judea and the Galilee.” Fun. Simply fun. How cynical do you have to be to think of such a title?
We left the Qalandiyya checkpoint at about 17:00 and continued toward Nablus, to observed the Atara-Bir Zeit checkpoint. We drove slowly along Route 60, looking around. What was particularly noticeable were the soldiers and military vehicles next to every outpost and settlement, the high fences and patrol roads surrounding the areas taken over by the settlers – in contrast to the Palestinian villages, that had been there long before and were trying to survive with no guards, no defenses, exposed and abandoned to every cruel outburst by adherents to the ideology of destruction and expulsion, the rioters mocking us all when they characterize their actions as “exacting a price.” It’s shocking to see how easy it is for a Jewish mob on the West Bank to harass, threaten, abuse destroy and injure their neighbors whenever they decide that it’s time to “exact the price.” Pogroms are part of human history. It’s shocking to see how easy it is to conduct them when you’re safe behind fences, armed and – especially – when the weak who you abuse and injure lack any way of defending themselves and no one cares about them. The world is silent. The Atara-Bir Zeit checkpoint is manned and operating, which we didn’t expect. As part of “lightening the burden” and “removal” of checkpoints about which Israel boasts to the international community, this checkpoint was also to have been removed. It turns out that the building is still there, and the soldiers in the adjoining pillbox are ordered to come down from time to time and man the checkpoint in order to “show their presence,” or to check vehicle registrations, or for who-know-what other reason, which the soldiers don’t know either.
The three soldiers manning the checkpoint hardly delay traffic. They tell us they’ve been instructed to stop “certain vehicles” containing people “smuggling explosives and drugs.” Apparently no such vehicles went by while we were there, because no one was stopped, nor were any explosives or drugs found.
But we did find, on one of the concrete barriers, a box labeled “Alpha,” (an acronym for “means of crowd dispersal”), with empty casings which had contained crowd dispersal grenades…
At about 18:00, when we were again on Route 60 on our way back to Qalandiyya, we saw a police car and a policeman on the other side of the road, three soldiers and two Palestinians. We turned around and stopped near them. It turned out that the three soldiers had set up a flying checkpoint on the secondary road between Ramallah and the village of Silwadto check driver’s licenses of Palestinians using that road. The driver of the car in which the youths were riding was 17 years old and had no license. The soldiers stopped and detained them, and called the police. The policeman gave them a ticket and explained that they’ll be tried.
We asked the soldiers why they’re doing the work of the traffic police. They replied, angrily, that it’s an order.
Translation: Bracha B.A.
· Children crossed the Shaked-Tura checkpoint after waiting for half an hour.
· An incident at the Reihan-Barta'a checkpoint
06:40 A'anin Checkpoint
The last of the farmers has crossed from their village in the West Bank to the seamline zone. About 80 people crossed this morning and we are told that 81 new permits have been issued about two weeks ago. One person tells us that his wife has not been issued a permit, even during the olive harvest, and another tells us that his 50-year-old uncle has not been issued a permit.
At 06:50 everyone has crossed. The Bedouin children who live at the village beneath the checkpoint are waiting for a ride to school at Um-A-Reihan.
07:00 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
Young children are waiting with their fathers to cross on their way to school. Yesterday they did not attend school because they were told they had to be checked in the inspection facility. Today they are waiting again. (See report from March 16th, 2011). Today the soldiers are standing next to the shed outside the checkpoint, which is not their usual spot. They return to the checkpoint but don't open the gate. A., a representative from the Liaison and Coordination Administration, is also there and it appears they have not yet decided what to do.
At 07:15 there are about 25 people waiting next to the turnstile on the Tura side, but no one has crossed yet. The first car comes up to be checked on the seamline zone side. About 30 children are waiting and a commotion begins at 07:30 on the Tura side. The soldiers are still waiting. Finally the children enter the checkpoint, and as usual they line up to be checked and a soldier inspects their schoolbags. After a few minutes all the children have crossed. A few fathers are still standing on the other side talking about the problems that the checkpoint creates for them and for their children. At 07:40 people also cross from the West Bank to the seamline zone.
At 07:50 a few people are still waiting by the turnstile, and the checkpoint returns to its usual routine.
At 08:10 we drove past the Reihan Checkpoint. A few cars are parked, waiting to be checked. Tenders loaded with merchandise are waiting on the other side. The gates to road 596 are locked as usual. About a dozencars are parked on the southern side on the road leadingtoKafin and Tul Karem, and two are parked on the north side, leading to Zibda. .
08:20 Dotan checkpoint
There is a line of six carscoming from Jenin. One car is checked at random. Three buses with children are going towards Jenin. It is wonderful weather for a school trip. We also drove to Hermesh Checkpoint. The gate on the road leading to Tulkaremwas open and unmanned.
08:50 Reihan - Barta'a Checkpoint
On our way to the checkpoint, we received a phone call and were told that there were a lot of people waiting at the checkpoint and people were held up. The Palestinian parking lot was filled to capacity and there were about 200 angry people waiting. We learned that the terminal had been closed about 40 minutes agoand it was not clear when it would reopen. People thought that perhaps a closure had been declared. We were told that there was an incident in the terminal. There were also 10 pickup trucks with agricultural goods waiting to cross to the seamline zone.
At 09:15 a security officer announced that everyone was to go to the vehicle entrance gate. Immediately people congregated there and the people from the Liaison and Coordination Administration attempted to keep order. Everyone was angry and in a hurry. Some gave up and returned to the lower gate to the terminal where they thought they would get in faster. One woman was waiting with the men and was allowed to go in, and a dozen men were also allowed in with her.
At 09:40the gate to the terminal opened. The woman in the booth instructed people to enter five at a time.
By 10:00 everyonehad entered the terminal. We saw that people were already ascending the sleeve towards the seamline zone, but we didn't know when everyone went through.
We left the checkpoint and returned through Barta'a. Despite the fact that a lot of workers did not arrive, the marketplace was busy. In the evening a man phoned Ruthi and reported that there was still trouble at the terminal. He had to wait about 20 minutes to get into the terminal and it took about 40 minutes to get through.