'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Thu 12.11.09, Morning

Neta G, Shula B (reporting together)

06:15 Aanin Checkpoint
Many have already passed. Three were not allowed even though they had permits. Valid. From our place of observation we could not know why...

06:30 – the checkpoint empties. All told about 100 people and a few tractors crossed.

06:40 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
Men coming out of the terminal to the upper parking lot on their way to work in the Seam Zone. Shula photographs and a security guard, Sergei, notices and says it is forbidden. The letter from the IDF Spokesman, confirming that photography is permited at checkpoints, convinces him and his supervisor, and they leave us alone.

06:55 –relatively large numbers of people reach the lower parking lot from the West Bank – all owners of businesses in East Bartaa. They come in private vehicles, taxis and on foot, and are swallowed up into the terminal. A resident of Tura who works in Bartaa comes to the lower lot. He is not allowed to cross at Shaked-Tura, next to his home, and he has to make a circuit of an hour paying 15 shekels each way.

07:15 – three pickups are waiting for inspection. Three private cars are also waiting to enter the West Bank, and one to the Seam Zone. According to E., the driver, in recent afternoons, the crossing of people returning to the West Bank is being delayed in the terminal until, finally, all emerge together – some 300 people at once, causing chaos in the parking lot and with transport.

07:45 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
As we arrive all the schoolchildren have already crossed – eager and up early. Perhaps 30 men jostling by the entry turnstile on the Tura side.
Four cars already waiting for them on the Seam Zone side, and three more waiting to cross. This morning two young men tried to pass without permits. One of them bolted back to the West Bank, but his ID remained in the soldiers’ hands. The second is meanwhile being held at the checkpoint.

A man complains about the behaviour of the shift officer, contending that he curses the transients. Others complain about disorganised lists that complicate matters for them. For example, the woman soldier at the examination hut is too lazy to list people returning to the West Bank, and when they want to cross to the Seam Zone the next day, they are suspected of having entered the West Bank other than by the proper procedure. Another mistake: a resident of East Tura in the West Bank holds a permanent farm worker’s permit for the Seam Zone. In the morning when he enters the Zone he is listed as a farmer, but when he returns they look at the "permanent" and list nothing because permanent residents in the Seam Zone are exempted from listing. As a result of this slipshod process, it appears that the farmer did not return... In his place a resident who isn’t listed crosses! Madhouse. Now the man has received a green slip saying that if he does not return according to his permit, he will not be allowed to cross again!

We met the father of the bride from Um el Reihan, whose fiancé (from Jenin) was not allowed to come to the betrothal party in her parents’ home two weeks ago (reported 29/10). The father, Marvah Zaid, the mukhtar of Um el Reihan, said that the groom was also not allowed to come to her house, as is the custom, to take his bride to the wedding in Jenin. The parents brought her there. During the period of the engagement, they did allow him to visit a few times, but now he cannot accompany her on visits to the family.

08:10 – we again met the resident from Tura who is not allowed to cross at Shaked Checkpoint. His house is right next to the checkpoint but he has to travel across the West Bank to reach Reihan Checkpoint. Why? Because his lands are in Bartaa. But he also has lands close to home in Tura, but neither he nor his wife can get a permit to cross there. Now he has come to Shaked Checkpoint (from Reihan, this time across the Seam Zone) to get his work tools, which someone will bring across the checkpoint from his home – because he did not want to drag them along in a taxi. Madhouse, madhouse, madhouse....

A resident of the Seam Zone complained that they only open Shaked Checkpoint at 07:00 without consideration for workers who have to get to the West Bank much earlier. This compels them to travel to Reihan – again unnecessary complications...
The occupation was sworn to take care of the Zone residents’ fabric of life, but in practice it raises endless difficulties and unravels any good arrangements.
08:30 – a flock of sheep and ten people are waiting to cross into the Seam Zone. We leave.