Mevo Dotan (Imriha), Reihan, Shaked, Tue 8.3.11, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
07:00 Shaked – Tura checkpoint
Soldiers are opening the checkpoint gates on both sides. About 15 people, on the West Bank side, wait at the revolving gate leading to the inspection building. Taxis and students going to Jenin and to schools in the area wait on the seam zone side. Cars drive to the middle of the checkpoint, the drivers get out and go over to the inspection building, return to the vehicles, open the hood, lift things, move things, show the soldiers they’re not hiding anything in their clothing, and then continue on their way. Or not.
The lines on both sides of the inspection building get longer. The soldiers say that the computer within is stuck. The Palestinians say that the same thing happened yesterday afternoon and delayed their crossing for half an hour. Pupils walk along a muddy path to the end of the concrete barriers, open their bags, the soldier looks in and sends them on. Everything is automatic, with no orders or explanations. Everyone knows what to do.
Dahar el Malak, the locality near the checkpoint, hasn’t yet been connected to the electric grid. The residents wait’and in the meantime continue to use charcoal for heating and cooking. The nearby settlements – Heinanit, Shaked, Tel Menashe and Reihan, established on stolen land, are definitely connected. Even residents of the solitary house located between the fences had their electricity disconnected recently; they don’t know why.
We met a family member who said that the inhabitants of Dahar el Malak hired a lawyer to demand an extension of the Tura checkpoint’s hours of operation. They say people can’t return from work and from errands before it closes at 7 PM, particularly those who work in banks and offices.
We cross the Reihan checkpoint through the VIP lane. The car in front of us has the appropriate license plate and, like us, continues without inspection. In the adjoining lane: a Palestine taxi and all its passengers – residents of Palestine – stand outside their vehicle in the cold until the Occupation representative does them the favor of permitting them to continue in their own country. Everything operates according the to Occupation laws. Politely, quietly, “no problems.” We’re almost done. Everything’s OK! Thanks, have a good trip. The occupation routine – silent, bleeding.
People arrive at the checkpoint and are immediately swallowed up in the terminal. Later they pass through the upper fenced corridor and come out on the seam zone side. At this hour, the Palestinian parking lot isn’t full yet. A few pickup trucks with produce from the West Bank are being inspected, four more wait on the road. Drivers tell us about delays for no reason at the Dothan checkpoint, about the soldiers’ rudeness and power games with drivers and people on foot.
08:30 – 08:50 Dothan checkpoint
Goats and cows graze by the roadside, everything green and clean. Pupils walk to school in Yabed. Bedouin women in black dresses pass by, on foot or riding donkeys. They wave to us.
A number of cars at the checkpoint, on both sides. Traffic flows without delays. On our way back to the car the soldiers, worried about us being in danger, suggest we remain in the car and watch from there. They remind us of the man who was shot a few weeks ago after threatening the soldiers with a weapon. We thank them and leave.