Reihan, Shaked, Sun 15.5.11, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Reihan checkpoint 06:00-06:50
We thought the closure wouldn’t be felt here because this checkpoint is for Palestinians crossing to the seam zone, not to Israel. Although we saw some seamstresses crossing, we were mostly wrong – we saw drivers waiting for seamstresses who hadn’t arrived yet, and we didn’t know whether or not they’d come. When we went down to the lower parking lot, to the entry gate from the West Bank to the seam zone, we saw what the problem was. Eight workers, whom we thought were returning from their night shift in the Shahak industrial zone adjoining Shaked settlement, were in fact sent back to where they’d come from after having gone through all the checks and were not allowed through the final inspection point. Their permits say “Permission to work in the seam zone, West Bank.” We tried to discover the reason. S., and R, his deputy, didn’t answer the phone; we were told they weren’t there.
In response to Ruthie’s request someone else from the Crossings Administration came to the gate to speak with us. He said that at 11:30 last night they were informed of the closure and that they weren’t to allow the workers from Shahak to cross. Neither the workers nor their employers were notified. He suggested we check with the DCO. They didn’t answer the phone; apparently they hadn’t yet begun their workday. As you know, there are also problems here with cell phone reception. We decided to drive to see what’s happening at Shaked and take advantage of the fact that we get reception there to call the DCO.
After much “call back in five minutes” and “I’ll ask the crossings officer and (not) tell you,” it finally turned out that the employers had to coordinate ahead of time and provide a specific list of the workers they’re asking to be let through. But, as we said, neither the employers nor the workers knew that. What’s the matter – is this the first time there’s been a closure since the checkpoint was established? A day of work lost – for the workers as well as the factory owners, but why should the commanders care?
Shaked checkpoint 07:05- 08:10
There’s a new arrangement, in addition to the routine: those coming from the West Bank approach the revolving gate at the entrance to the inspection building in groups of five.
Two herds, school children, women on their way to shop in Jenin, teachers and others crossed as usual.
After we finished finding out about the laborers we returned to Reihan. The Shahak workers hadn’t waited for us. They already understood and returned home.
Meanwhile, the first group of trucks already entered for inspection – which, reportedly, takes more than an hour.
A driver waiting in the lot with a load of meat complained he wasn’t allowed to enter. Palestinians haven’t heard yet about refrigerated trucks, or they’re too expensive, and the weather is beginning to get hot. The guard at the gate was considerate and let him precede a truck that was in front of him.