Reihan, Shaked, Wed 16.12.09, Morning
Translation: Bracha B.A.
We arrived at 09:15 and the place looked deserted. A cold, dry wind chills us to the bones. A few minutes later a resident of the nearby village of Dar El Malich in the seamline zone arrives. HE asked to bring 60 chickens from Tura in the West Bank that belong to him. He has a second wife in Tura. The soldiers refused and did not say why, and Nava called the Liaison and Coordination Administration to see why. She was told that the man had to present a written request to the army through the village Mukhtar. Even if he is permitted to bring them across he will have to do so at Reihan Checkpoint. Maybe by that time he will have a few more chickens.
Some of the people crossing the checkpoint from the territories to the seamline zone reported that the passage was quick and took about ten minutes.
There was still something puzzling: At about 09:30 the soldiers at the checkpoint took a break to eat' which lasted for a quarter of an hour, until Nava approached them and gave them a look. Why couldn’t they wait until 10:00 when the checkpoint closes anyway?
10:15: Reihan Barta’a checkpoint
Here, too, it is very cold. There are a lot of cars parked in the lower Palestinian parking lot that come fro the West Bank belonging to people who come to work or to conduct business in East Barta’a. There is barely room to park there. We were told that since the elimination of the checkpoints on the way people can reach the checkpoint after a short drive in their own cars. We did not see any pedestrians. Everyone comes in their cars now and enter and exit the terminal and continue on by car.
At 10:45 three young men came to the gate. One of them had heavy bags. |They went into the terminal immediately. After that two people arrived with two small children and entered quickly.
When we arrived there were 6 vans, loaded with agricultural produce, waiting to be checked. When we left there were two additional vans waiting to be checked.
We walked down the sleeve to see what was happening in the entrance to the terminal. To our surprise we saw eight people waiting next to the vehicle checkpoint entering the seamline zone. This was new for us but the soldier at the lookout point said that sometimes people are asked to be checked there rather than in the terminal and he did not explain why. After we left the checkpoint we went to Barta’a where the matter was made clear. We saw fireworks and heard people shooting in the air in celebration and learned that a group of people had returned to the village from their pilgrimage to Mecca. This explained the superficial check at the checkpoint, since on their way back they had already been checked when they crossed the border from Jordan.
|We heard the loudspeaker at the entrance to the terminal announce that the gate to the terminal was closed at 11:30 and all those who did not manage to get in or to be checked were sent to be checked outside at the vehicle checkpoint. It was not clear why the terminal was closed at that hour and there was no one to ask. We left.