Reihan, Shaked, Tue 11.1.11, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
06:20 Reihan checkpoint
The checkpoint opened at 5 AM. The seamstresses and Shahak workers crossed. 12-15 people waiting in the upper parking lot for transportation to their factory jobs. They’re sitting by the roadside opposite the taxi stand, on boulders, on the road or on the bare ground. There should be a shed and benches here, because it’s become a place where people usually wait.
Dozens of laborers waiting in the lower parking lot in front of the closed gate. A few minutes later they enter and go to the terminal. Others arrive, wait briefly. We’re told that the terminal is “packed” with people.
Two trucks loaded with agricultural produce wait to be inspected.
We walk through the corridor to the terminal. Only one inspection window is open. Once again the biometric inspection problem arises (palm and fingerprint scan) for the manual laborers. Their jobs are (literally) wearing, affecting their hands, which now don’t match the image in the data base. Once again they have to schlep to the DCO, which is far from their home, and lose a day of work in order to update the image until the next time.
People leaving the terminal ask us about what’s happening in Israel regarding the prohibition on selling apartments to Arabs (you don’t like Arabs), and fear that the quota of permits to work in Israel will also be reduced. One asks, half seriously, half jokingly, who’s our Prime Minister. Netanyahu or Lieberman? He can quote the latter’s brilliant statements about transfer, etc. “Everything’s been taken from us! Where will they dump us?”
A 42 year old man, married, no children, says his permit to work in Israel wasn’t renewed; the reason given was that he didn’t have children. He’s being punished for nature’s curse…says his companion.
Two others say that despite their valid permits they’re delayed from time to time for various clarifications, since there’s a red line under their names on the permit. They don’t know why. They’re waiting for a companion who’s been detained instead of continuing to work.
07:05 Laborers keep exiting. There’s lots of traffic, and except for the unlucky ones being detained is seems that people go through quickly.
07:20 Shaked checkpoint
The checkpoint has just opened but people aren’t being allowed to cross yet. A soldier stands at the gate, supervising.
A line of seven cars and a few dozen people has formed to cross to the seam zone: pupils, teachers, students and others waiting to cross. Exams have begun at the Open University in Jenin.
Twenty or more people are also waiting to cross from the other side (the West Bank). The DCO tells us, by phone, that a drill is currently underway. Now, exactly when pupils and teachers have to cross!
07:30 After we contact the DCO, the checkpoint opens to let people through. The entry to the seam zone, involving undergoing inspection in the building, is still slow. Very young pupils (kindergarten and elementary school) line up opposite the soldiers, open their bags and run to school.
Many complain that the checkpoint again opens late, at 7 instead of 6. They say an earlier opening would make it easier for laborers who rise early; the pupils and teachers arrive later. It would also reduce the stress of crossing.
08:10 The last person from the West Bank crosses to the seam zone. Now the drill can continue without interruption.
A , driving the DCO vehicle, arrives and leaves. So do we.