Mevo Dotan (Imriha), Reihan, Shaked, Sun 1.5.11, Afternoon
Shaked CP (15:00-15:30
The gates are open. A Palestinian fellow in his car greets us; he is insulted and very angry because of the way the soldiers at the CP have behaved towards him. From what he said we could not understand exactly what the problem was. From some distance four soldiers could be seen standing near a Palestinian driver, with their guns pointed toward the ground, but with their fingers on the triggers. They had their backs turned to us --- 'We're not talking to you.' In the recent past, the procedure for inspecting cars going towards the West Bank was as follows: The vehicle enters through the gate and halts near the CP stones. The driver gets out of the car and goes to be inspected in the inspection room. After the inspection, he returns, starts his car and drives into the area of the CP, and then the documents and the vehicle are inspected.
Today the procedure was different. The vehicle remains outside the gate, and in order to be certain of this a ragged red plastic barrier was set up (shameful, because of the reduced security budget!)
Further , we did not observe discourteous behavior and Sergeant Eden, the woman in command of the CP, approached us to talk to us on her own initiative. She introduced herself and said that all the CP soldiers have an identity tag with their names. (We did not look for these and we did not see them, but she sounded reliable.) I must note that everything she said about the way a CP embedded in 'the tissue of life' such as this one has to be conducted, sounded appropriate. Eden showed understanding for the difficulties that the Palestinians have to confront at the CP, but she said that statistics prove that the fence is necessary and she does not have the capacity to change the situation.
Another few vehicles went through and several pedestrians as well. The Cp emptied out and we left.
Dotan CP 15:40-15:55
We stopped in the village of Ameriha and there we left bags of clothes. At the Dothan CP we could see already from a distance that the soldiers are reservists. Their behavior was not at all tense, as was that of the young soldiers at Shaked. We heard them announcing our coming, "The women from Machsomwatch have arrived!" We saw that the traffic was flowing without any interruptions, and we left.
Reihan CP 16:05-16:55
The lower parking lot is full of cars; it was impossible to get a pin in. We saw four trucks with agricultural goods, covered with nylon, standing in the lot with no intention of entering for inspection. We were told that the goods trucks can enter for inspection only between six and twelve in the morning. Whoever does not manage to get there then, leaves the vehicle with the goods until the following morning. And what if there are vegetables? What will they look like in the shop on the next day?
We drove up to the upper parking lot and we walked down the terminal sleeve. Those coming back from work arrived one at a time, and the traffic increased steadily until the time we left. At the beginning only one window was open, and afterwards, we saw that an additional window was opened for those coming from the opposite direction, from the West Bank to the seamline zone. There was no crowding and the atmosphere was calm. We have all become habituated, and if there are no special disturbances, we have the impression that everything is all right. BUT FOR ALL THAT WE DO REMEMBER THAT THINGS ARE NOT REALLY ALL RIGHT.
Near the entrance/exit the secretary of the town council of (Palestinian) East Barta'a was waiting for some expert engineer who was to do some inspection in the village. The expert does not have a magnetic card, but the secretary coordinated his arrival in advance and there were no problems. It seems that there are good relations between the council and the administration in charge of passage at the CP and it is possible to overcome difficulties that come up. We heard from him a bit about procedures in the village, about the budgets and contributions to projects such as the installation of pipes.