Reihan, Shaked, Tue 24.5.11, Morning

Leah R, Ana NS

06:20 Barta’a - Reihan Checkpoint

On our way to the checkpoint we watched men coming up the sleeveinfo-icon from the terminal on their way to work in the Seam Zone. At the end of the sleeve taxis are waiting for them. Routine.

At the checkpoint itself: on the road half a dozen pickups loaded with agricultural produce, waiting for inspection. In the parking lot another five have been waiting since the early hours of morning. Two more will arrive.

Men are swallowed up into the sleeve and into the terminal as soon as they arrive. When a military vehicle reaches the lower terminal compound, entry to the terminal is closed and everyone waits for the vehicle to pass.

We are told that there is no difficulty at Dotan checkpoint.

07:00  on our way to Shaked-Tura Checkpoint, we pick up a young hitchhiker, a settler from Mevo Dotan, who is working in Shaked. He listens to our conversation and asks questions, and eventually blurts out: “keep going – I’m with you!”

07:10 Tura Shaked Checkpoint

At least 30 men wait at the checkpoint on the Tura Village side (West Bank), wanting to cross into the Seam Zone. Perhaps ten wait in the opposite direction.

Kindergarten and primary schoolchildren are opening their satchels for a soldier. He sticks his hands in and checks the contents (how come he isn’t scared?). A reckless child comes to the soldier from the right hand side of the stone wall and is sent back to the left side. People complain loudly about the opening hour of the checkpoint – seven instead of six, as it was till recently. Explanation from the DCO: people complained about the closing hour (9:00) as being early, so the opening and closing hours were moved forward (7:00 - 10:00). The geniuses did not grasp that it doesn’t help. This is a “fabric of life” checkpoint and people should be permitted to pass without intervention.

Teachers coming from the West Bank to enter the Seam Zone wait for the driver to finish his vehicle check, so they can continue. Drivers coming from the West Bank go on foot through the check hut, are checked, then return to their vehicles, drive to the vehicle checkpoint, hand over their documents and wait for the vehicle to be checked. Day in, day out – so everyone is late for work.

A young mother arrives with a newborn babyinfo-icon wrapped in a blanket, and the grandmother carrying a three-year-old girl in her arms. When their turn comes, they move into the hut to be checked.

We measure the time. Men waited between 20 - 30 minutes or more till their release from the burden of the checkpoint. People say that inside there is a female soldier who shouts all the time, and a computer that isn’t functioning. We hear ever more complaints about delays at the DCO, disregard for their applications, agricultural permits not given for family members, an overblown and complicated bureaucracy that does not respond to the population that needs its services, lack of respect for personal time. Forty four years, and “they” are still not accustomed to it?...