Reihan, Shaked, Tue 12.1.10, Morning

Observers: 
Ruthy T. and Hasida S. (reporting)
Jan-12-2010
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Morning

07:10 Reihan CP - Life Stops
While we were on our way to the CP, we got a phone call from Shula telling us that our friend, the driver, A., was in some trouble with his car at the Reihan CP -- that there is a big mess (an 'incident'). She asked us to go there before any other CP on this shift.

When we came near the CP we saw a large number of soldiers, about 200 meters before the upper parking lot. The road descending to the CP was blocked by soldiers and a long queue of cars stood waiting without knowing what was happening. We parked above on the side of the road. They did not even allow us to approach on foot 'to check the facilities. The soldiers with whom we spoke did not know anything and we could hardly talk to them. From time to time they received permission to let some people through and they let one or two cars go through.

It turned out that this morning, at 06:00, the driver, A., who drives people between the Reihan CP and the villages around Jenin for a living, drove out of the Palestinian parking lot on his way to collect passengers; but for some reason, instead of turning right, he turned left and came into the CP very fast. When he did this, he got on to the spikes and they punctured three of his wheels. That led to a 'sabotage incident procedure', a procedure of 'stopping life' at the CP, and a lot of tumult. The soldiers and the guards instructed him to get out of the vehicle (Transit) and lie on the floor. After that, they arrested him and in the meantime, the robot inspected the vehicle and while doing that blew up the windows and tore the upholstery. Because of the tumult, we were afraid that the next time we saw A., it would be when they kept him under arrest and would file a case in which he would be accused of an attempt to carry out a terrorist attack. We phoned from the CP and Shula phoned from home, to explain to the people in charge of security and to the officer in charge at the brigade, that he is a sick man (diabetes and heart trouble), and certainly not a terrorist, and that whatever happens, they should treat him humanely and not cause him any more trauma than he had already undergone.

07:20 Shaked-Tura CP
The winter vacation is still in effect in the schools and the only pupils going through the CP are those going for exams, with booklets and pages in their hands. The driver of the Transit on his way to the West Bank and a girl aged about eight, were inspected in the x-ray pavilion and returned after a few seconds. The girl's schoolbag was also inspected. A young fellow met his aunt coming from the West Bank, in the middle of the CP. He gave her a few packages, gifts for the family that she was going to visit abroad. They parted with a kiss near the soldiers. This also happens in the CP. The traffic flows steadily, and we went back to Reihan.

08:00 Reihan CP
Life in the CP has now returned to normal. People emerged from the terminal quickly and were swallowed up in the Transits that waited for them. In the terminal itself, two windows were active, but after a 'life stop' of two hours, many people got stuck on their way to work. People say there were some who simply went home because there was no point in going out to work so late.

In the sleeveinfo-icon that descends into the terminal, two teachers stopped us, and, speaking English, complained that they are inspected every day and are delayed for about 40 minutes. They asked us to do something about this. One of them said that she would write us, and we gave her the address of our site.
When we stood near the turnstile at the entrance to the terminal we were frightened by a sudden shout from the loudspeaker; we understood the word 'checkpoint', and the electric doors shut. After a few seconds, there was another loud shout: return to normal, and the doors were opened by a guard dressed in black (why must the uniform be so threatening?). One of those going through, angry and offended, told us about the insulting gestures that a masked soldier made toward the Palestinians going through the CP.

When we went up the sleeve, we saw the blue Transit that belongs to A., behind the white concrete huts, and a group of people, among whom we identified the man in charge of security and another officer having a consultation near the spikes on the descent in the direction of the West Bank. Very quickly two people went up to the Transit, put in a few things that were lying on the ground, started the car, and drove to the Palestinian parking lot. We went down there and on the way we talked with S., the person in charge. He said that the driver had been freed to go home, and after they had clarified all the details, they had decided not to accuse him of anything. They were aware of the fact that he is ill and treated him well. He also received a form for the division of property tax in Israel  to apply for compensation for the harm that was caused to his car (windows broken by the robot). A.'s son and friends changed the punctured wheels, and took their exhausted father to his home in Zebda.
That was the end -- but not everything is good.