Reihan, Shaked, Sun 5.6.11, Afternoon
Translated by Ilil Naveh-Benjamin
Naksa day? Not in “our checkpoints.” We’re only trying to make a living.
The checkpoint is empty of passers-by. Finally, a young man arrives from the West Bank and announces, “Today’s OK. These are good soldiers.” Three cars pass by 15:05. Armoured military vehicles come and go. Two female military police soldiers come and go.
A car labeled “DOCTOR” arrives. The military police soldiers (women) are loudly told to return since “the commander hasn’t coordinated the handover.” Finally, the handover is arranged by phone.
At 15:15 a young man arrives from the seam zone carrying heavy bags, mostly clothes. We wonder how long it’ll take him to pass through the checkpoint. He grudgingly guesses half an hour. He goes through in three minutes – and we leave.
We go down into the full-to-bursting parking lot on the Palestinian side, and park on the road. Travelers are few in number at this hour. The drivers sound jolly even as they complain about sparse employment: “Maybe one load a day. Barely 20 shekels.” They say they’d like a cold water fountain to be put here, like the one at the entrance to the seam zone terminal. Some enjoying a siesta on cots laid out in a shed. We listen to their complaints about the General Security Servicesprohibited. For example, one man tells us that his 23 year-old son has studied for four years to become a teacher, but can’t find a teaching position in the West Bank and is prohibited from crossing into the seam zone, even though his 19 year-old brother does have the authorization. We refer the father to Mahadi, the authorization officer in the District Coordination Office (DCO).
We follow a young man who enters the terminal at 16:00, and meet him on the northern side later on. “Why did it take you 17 minutes to get out?” We laugh. He chuckles: “They don’t have power, what can I do.”
The checkpoint parking lot has been paved over with cement. But the roof above the examination area is still under construction, a metal skeleton that offers no protection from the elements.