Reihan, Shaked, Sat 10.7.10, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
06:40 – 09:00
06:40 Reihan checkpoint
We came early (20 minutes before people start to be sent through). One Transit is waiting. All the gates are closed. We walked down to the lower lot. We declared what was in the bags we carried. We received permission to cross the roadblock after it opens to military vehicles. 50-60 people stood next to the yellow gate. One woman (from the sewing factory) stood off to the side, waiting for her friend. Today we didn’t see the other women.
07:00 The gate opens, and with it a hail of commands: Saker el bab. Fut fut. Don’t touch the makina. Fut fut ya Mu’alem. [Close the gate...go through, go through…don’t touch the machine…go through, sir]. Bas hamsa [only five]. Sakr…and so on, over and over. Impolite, many explanation points and smiles on the faces of those still waiting.
In ten minutes the place was empty. People arriving on foot or in a vehicle entered immediately (hamsa hamsa – five at a time).
7:20 Those who were waiting this morning have already come through. Someone asks how Anna is, another praises the fact that they went through quickly, another: “That’s what we’ve got, and today it was good.”
Two windows are open inside the terminal. 07:40 The corridors are empty. It takes 5-6 minutes to get from the yellow gate at the lower parking lot until you leave the terminal for the seam zone.
A man from Tura (near the Shaked checkpoint) approaches us. He says (in a combination of Hebrew and Arabic) he’s been waiting six months for a crossing permit for a wedding (of one of his children). He received a permit to send wedding invitations. Why didn’t he cross at Shaked? They didn’t let him. Only through Reihan (a huge detour).
7:45 We move toward the exit. Passengers of a large minibus from Barta’a to Jenin signal to us. An old blind man (or almost blind) isn’t able to get off and insert his card, and the requirement isn’t being waived. By the time we understood what was going on, it had been taken care of. Apparently one of the passengers (aged 20) has to go to Jenin for medical treatment, and he has a permit to cross that has expired (two weeks ago?). Everyone waits. A phone call to ‘Adel, the DCO head. The driver explains to him in Arabic. ‘Adel promises to take care of it. Meanwhile, the line behind the minibus lengthens.
A female security guard wearing a company uniform (blue and white) arrives. She doesn’t know that ‘Adel is involved, and impatiently and loudly explains to the waiting passengers the theory behind the checkpoints and the crossing procedures. Nor does she have time to listen to us tell her that ‘Adel is taking care of the crossing permit. It’s important for her to bring the incident to a close and release the waiting vehicles (which is the right thing to do, even from our critical perspective), but she won’t allow the man and his mother to wait nearby for the permit from ‘Adel, the DCO, after which they’ll get another ride to Jenin, or it doesn’t occur to her to do so. We saw the man and his mother taking a taxi back to Barta’a.
8:25 We left (13 Transits waiting for passengers)
8:30 While we were on our way to the Shaked checkpoint ‘Adel called and asked to talk to that man. He doesn’t understand why they returned to Barta’a. We told him everything that we wrote above and he promised to find out what happened with the security personnel at the checkpoint.
8:35 Shaked – Tura checkpoint
Very many people waiting (photo on left). Lots of noise and disorder (about 30 adults and 15 children). They told us that the gate closed after someone who crossed from Tura was beaten by the soldiers. We saw two military vehicles and many soldiers.
Flags: Israel, Armored Corps, Military Police
A white Transit stands opposite the soldier’s post toward Tura (why?). We call ‘Adel, the DCO head: I’ll take care of it! What – the gate’s closed (sounds surprised)? I know about it. A beating? I don’t know anything about a beating (again sounds surprised). We understood he was on his way to the checkpoint, and will be hear in half an hour or more.
8:40 They open the gate for a jeep carrying someone with a rank on his shoulder of a star inside a V who speaks Arabic. The gate closes. Babies cry. More and more people arrive. The mothers bring the crying babies closer to the gate; maybe it will make a difference. They start shaking the gate but then stop. We understand that they are on their way to Tura after a wedding in Dahar al Malk (On our way, we saw the location of the wedding).
8:50 A Red Crescent ambulance arrived from the direction of Tura.
8:53 A military ICU ambulance (No. 201 Judea and Samaria region) arrives from the seam zone.
9:05 They take out the man who was beaten. Limbs dangling he’s carried/dragged. A soldier gets a chair. Slowly they put him in the ambulance (second photo above). We see his legs going in (why didn’t they take out a stretcher?). 9:10 The Red Crescent leaves. We call ‘Adel. He’s on his way.
9:12 The ambulance doors close.
9:14 The ambulance turns around, as if it intends to go north.
9:15 They open one wing of the gate and the first enters. He yells to us that he waited two hours (even an hour or a quarter of an hour is a long time to wait). Two soldiers approach the waiting crowd, leave one wing of the gate open and return to the checkpoint area. The families begin going through. The Transit parked opposite the soldiers’ position toward Tura isn’t allowed to go through because of some problem with how the owner is registered. They tell the driver to move it away.
9:17 The ambulance still hasn’t moved. (Are they treating the man who was put inside?) People coming from Tura who go through the inspection building come out holding their belts.
9:20 “Yoel! Let more people through!”
“No! But not one by one.”
A Hummer arrives. The ambulance moves to let it pass.
9:30 The area empties of people. We meet M., the brother of the man who was beaten. He says that it happened at 8:00. He was told about it by another brother who went through together with the one who was beaten. Apparently he had an argument with the soldiers about where he was supposed to stand – in front of or behind the revolving gate. The beating began after the brother had already finished the inspection procedure and left the building. M. said his brother has some problem in his chest, so because of the beating he asked that he be taken to an Israeli hospital and signed a waiver for the Red Crescent.
“If my brother was rude, let them call the police – why beat him?”
9:40: ‘Adel arrived. His white jeep parked next to the soldiers’ position. He greeted them and continued his work.
9:45 We left.
10:05 We called M., the brother of the man who was beaten. ‘Adel, the DCO, convinced him that his brother’s condition doesn’t justify hospitalization in Israel, and that he should take him to Jenin. He called the Red Crescent and took his brother to be examined in Jenin.
Afternoon: Col. ‘Adel called us in the early afternoon. He apologized that he wasn’t able to meet us in the field, and reported on the conclusion of the incident at the Shaked – Tura checkpoint. He said the Palestinian who had been beaten was dissembling (put on an act), and his injury didn’t justify hospitalizing him in Israel. He was taken to a hospital in Jenin. But, according to Col. ‘Adel, the incident will be investigated in the way all such incidents are.
Continuation: Sunday 11.7.10
Telephone call to M. His brother is ok, undergoing medical tests. I understood he was no longer in the hospital. A friend of his, a lawyer from Umm el Fahm, will handle the matter (that’s why Yesh Din won’t be involved).
He has my phone number if he needs help.
I also received an email from the morning shif (Hanna H., Ruti T.): The man – a Bedouin who lives near Tel Menashe – who was beaten yesterday by one of the soldiers is returning home from the Jenin hospital. He tells us that yesterday, after he left the inspection room, he ran into a soldier who didn’t speak but motioned with his hands in a way that he didn’t understand. He thought he was being asked to raise his shirt and open his belt (the disgraceful belly dance), which is what he did. At the same time he turned around to his brother who speaks Hebrew. When he did his pants must have fallen down, which annoyed the soldier so much that he began beating him. He said that after the beating they brought him past the fence, on the West Bank side, where he collapsed. They then returned him to the inspection room and the soldiers treated him and infused a saline solution. The incident occurred at 8:10, and at 11:30 he was taken to the hospital in Jenin where he was diagnosed with bruises to his upper body. His neck still hurts and tomorrow he’ll return for a follow-up. The soldier who beat him wasn’t at the checkpoint today, but those who took care of the wounded man said “there wasn’t any beating; something happened to his heart and they treated him.”