Reihan, Shaked, Sun 2.8.09, Afternoon
15:55 – Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
The checkpoint is almost empty with occasional traffic in the direction of the seamline zone. We remained there to observe for 15 minutes and left at 16:10.
16:15 Reihan- Barta’a Checkpoint
We went directly to the upper entrance to the terminal where we can see if there were any problems of people being delayed. Two windows remained open for the entire time we were there. One of the women inspectors noted what was going on at the entrance: “They’re talking to the women from “Watch” and they knew that we were there. Throughout the hour we observed the usual routine: the turnstile opens every five minutes and 9-12 people enter each time. Occasionally someone gets caught inside the turnstile and had to remain standing in this “cage” until it turned again, occasionally someone gets hit by the turnstile. The line outside occasionally grew to a dozen people but people continued to enter quickly.
A woman with an infant and two other small children attempted to pass through to the seamline zone and was refused. We could not find out why. A man from Jerusalem attempted to get back into the West Bank without a permit. He wanders about at the entrance and people shout at us. “He’s been here for six hours already. What’s he going to do? Sleep here?”
Evidently there is a wedding today and families dressed up in holiday clothes are coming from the Israeli side of Barta’a. As we left the entrance and walked back to the upper parking lot we saw a lineup of half a dozen cars - evidently the wedding party - waiting to get through to the West Bank. A taxi on its way to the seamline zone is being held up and everyone is waiting. People are standing next tot the cars in holiday clothes – including a woman who appears to be the bride - waiting to have their documents checked. People driving through are now allowed to be checked at the vehicle checkpoint and drive through without passengers having to go through the terminal. From inside one of the cars we can hear someone playing a darbuka and people clapping hands. As we leave the taxi going through towards the seamline zone that was holding up traffic is released and the wedding procession drives through.
A man accosts us. “The humiliation we have to go through at the checkpoints – there’s nothing like it anywhere else. Maybe in South Africa.”
“Actually,” I answer, “There is, but that doesn’t make it right.”
Another man demands, “When will it end?”
We left at 17:40.