'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 9.11.09, Morning
06:10 Aanin Checkpoint
People crossing without delays. We cannot follow up because of the distance. The soldiers identify and enter info on the computer – perhaps that speeds the process.
06:30 – a few scores have passed since 05:30, when the checkpoint opened, and a few still remain as we leave.
In the upper parking lot, workers are waiting for their employers and comrades who haven’t yet arrived.
In the lower parking lot, three pick-ups waiting for examination of vehicle and cargo at 07:00.A number of bored drivers ignore our questions: "Everything is okay."
Men entering the sleeve leading to the terminal in groups of five. The sleeve is jammed – appears that the pace inside the installation is very slow.
07:20 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
Many waiting on the West Bank side, in line to the turnstile and the examination room. Those coming out say that the pace is not regular – depends on the soldier and computer.
As usual children arrive and go through – large like the small. The little ones are led, hand in hand, by older brothers, cut enough to be hugged. They are shy and don’t rush to talk to us. A group of cute little girls wave to us and call a greeting. If only for these little ones, radiating optimism and hope that one day it will be good, it was worth coming. Secondary school kids go through the examination room.
07:50 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
Workers continue to pass at a regular and brisk pace.
A resident of Yaabed says that he was at the DCO to clariify the meaning of his prevention of entry into Israel for the last seven years. After waiting many hours, he "won" a magnetic card, which grants him nothing. Again he was told that he is blacklisted – as though he didn’t know. He says that his family live in East Bartaa and he hasn’t visited them for seven years. Another routine story to add to the hundreds we have already heard.
"For that you delay four men?"
"But our oil is more expensive, isn’t it?"
One of the men tells of the good days when he worked as a plasterer "from Haifa to Eilat," of his connections with Israelis, and that two years ago he was caught as an "illegal" working in the harvest. He was detained in Hadera detention centre for two weeks, and interrogated, hauled every day to court and back, while his father at home was on his death bed. When brought for trial, he complained about the detention, and was told by the judge: "You could have stayed home and watched television..." He told us about his son in university, and paying for his tuition with gritted teeth because "I don’t want him to be a simple labourer like me."
08:45 – the brother still hasn’t emerged. We take a phone number from the man in order to check later on what time he was released, but when we called his phone was off.