Jalama, Reihan, Shaked, Thu 1.10.09, Morning
Translation: Bracha B.A.
This morning we changed the order of the shift and decided not to observe A’anin checkpoint, and go observe Jalameh early instead. We had heard that there were problems there in the morning. We also wanted to get to Shaked-Tura at 09:30 when people from the Liaison and Coordination Administration were due to arrive to mark sections. This was advertised in an announcement hung in the inspection booth that was reported yesterday by Nava and Vivian.
06:00 Jalameh Checkpoint
Men and women are waiting in the parking lot, waiting for their rides to work in Israel (usually in agriculture) and already appear to be tired. The drivers are waiting for the entire group to get through the checkpoint. People complain about the lengthy time it takes to cross and have to spend an hour in the terminal, and about the inspections in the inner rooms. One of the drivers says that yesterday that they “forgot” someone in one of the rooms for three hours. People also complained that sometimes the checkpoint opens late. People are constantly passing through and we don’t know how many people go through during the morning. Someone says that there are about a thousand and another says several hundred.
We peek into the terminal. There are only two windows open out of 16 that are installed there. We asked to speak with the person who is in charge.
06:30 – the crowding lets up. Now mainly merchants are crossing. An elderly women is crying next to the window. The shift manager goes up to her. He is polite, and understands that opening additional inspection windows would make things much easier for people as well as the staff in the terminal. However, there is a problem with the budget and manpower. Apparently the high-ranking officials think that there is no need to fund an additional inspector. He tells us that the woman who is crying has no permit and that she cannot cross. He says that in another week the vehicle checkpoint will be operating for Israeli Arabs who want to enter the West Bank.
Someone closes the door that divides the hall in the terminal. Only one window is still open, but is appears that at this hour it is sufficient.
07:15 – We meet people we know in the parking lot: two fathers and their sons who are going to Rambam Hospital. They arrived after the rush hour and passed through the checkpoint quickly.
08:15 Reihan Barta’a
A car is being checked in the vehicle checkpoint on its way to the West Bank. Its passengers are waiting next to it. There are many cars parked in the Palestinian parking lot. Businesspeople from East Barta’a who live in the West Bank on the eastern side of the fence leave them there and pass through the terminal and from there travel on by taxi to the seamline zone.
The pedestrian traffic is light, but constant. There are no taxi drivers in the Palestinian parking lot except for our friend A., who drive people from “the bridge” over the road to the terminal.
08:45 Two trucks with merchandise that were waiting in the parking lot drive up to be checked. We hear that the army killed a young man in Ya’abed yesterday and later hear more details.
A grandfather and his toddler granddaughter pass through from the seamline zone to the West Bank. The traffic of pedestrians and cars is light at this hour. We wait for the people from the Liaison and Coordination Administration. A resident of Ya’abed is also waiting with us. The man told us that yesterday an army car drove into the schoolyard in Ya’abed and ran over and killed an 18-year-old student. 30 dunam of his land were confiscated for establishing an army base for the Shaked checkpoint and an adjacent parking lot. An announcement was received recently about conducting the annexation until the year 2011. He is afraid that they are going to confiscate other olive groves near the army parking lot.
09:35 Three officers from the Liaison and Coordination Administration: a major, a lieutenant, and a female second lieutenant arrive and talk with the man near the checkpoint. Three other Palestinians arrive whose land was mentioned in the announcement.
10:00 The officers from the Liaison and Coordination Administration and landowners arrive at the parking lot. The major speaks Arabic and has brought maps, the lieutenant is armed with a camera, and the second lieutenant has a notebook and a pen. They make a surprising announcement: they are returning the land of the parking lot to the resident of Ya’abed, they will remove the asphalt and take the rocks away, return the land to its original and true designation which is agriculture. The owner says that if the evacuation will be completed by February he will manage to plant olives this year. His happiness cannot be complete because the army base is still located on his land.
10:25 – They go to the land on the other side of the road next to the temporary army base. The land on which the temporary army base is located, which now holds nothing except for a garbage container and another two containers, is not being returned, but there is good news. The strip of land between the road, the separation fence, the temporary army base, and the checkpoint is being returned to its three original owners.
10:45 The checkpoint is closed until 12:00. The landowners ask the Liaison and Coordination Administration officers to open it for them. We did not wait to see if they opened it. We settled for the fact that we were present to witness the return of land to its owners and not, heaven forbid, additional annexation.