Reihan, Shaked, Mon 24.10.11, Morning

Reporting: Anna N.S.; Driver: Khouri

Translator:  Charles K.

A quote: 14.8.2007  Seam Zone Plan – Goals:

“The goal of the ‘seam zone’ plan is to limit the ability of assailants, whose numbers have risen since September, 2000, with the increase in suicide bombings, to infiltrate into Israel from the Palestinian Authority.  These assailants are part of the larger group of persons illegally present in Israel (“shabakhim”), comprising tens of thousands of Palestinians who illegally enter Israel every day from the territory of the Palestinian Authority in order to work.” (from the Ministry of Defense – Israel Defense Forces web site).

And I’ve been naïve enough to believe that the seam zone (“compound” would be a better term) was instituted in order to establish settlements, like Shaqed, Heiynanit, Reihan, etc, by dispossessing the original Palestinian residents of their lands and their rights, because, after all, you can defend the country from the ’67 borders.  But I guess I don’t understand security matters.

Dahar el Malak is located in the seam zone/compound, a small village whose residents are members of the Khatib family.  Many of their activities are focused on East Tura, where they go to school, shop, order repairs, where their relatives live, where the main mosque and cemetery is located.  The olive groves belonging to Tura’s residents are located on the seam zone side.  The IDF, for security reasons (what else?), decided to move the security fence between Dahar el Malak and Tura and establish a military checkpoint, which has been the source of considerable friction over the years.  To increase security they added the settlements of Tal Menashe, Heinanit and Shaqed.

A shooting incident, this report based on what we were told

An elderly member of the Khatib family died Friday evening in Dahar el Malak.  Family members have arranged with the DCO the passage of the funeral procession through the Tura checkpoint for the following day, Saturday, between 9 AM and 10 AM.

A procession of some 300 mourners, from the seam zone, the West Bank, and from Israel arrived at the checkpoint before 10 AM on Saturday with the body of the deceased.  The coordinating officer wasn’t present; the soldiers wanted each of the mourners to undergo a security check.  They objected, believing that the delay was an insult to the deceased.  The soldiers and mourners began arguing, and the soldiers finally closed the checkpoint.  The mourners forced their way through, soldiers firing at them or over their heads.  Four people were wounded, including two relatives who were pallbearers, and two others, residents of Ein Sahala (Israeli Arabs).

Now the village is tense.  The residents feel humiliated.  Feelings are high; the army apparently apologized, but nothing more.


05:50-06:50  A’anin agricultural checkpoint

The checkpoint opens at 05:30.  Inspections are carried out at the far gate; people are registered by hand.  The DCO car is on site at least part of the time during the inspections.  The resident approaches the soldiers, hands over his documents and moves one step back.  This distance is maintained throughout the inspection.  The first soldier gives the documents to a second, who inspects them, makes a mark on a sheet, returns them to the first soldier who returns them to the resident.  People are holding ordinary plastic bags, whose contents are occasionally inspected at a glance.  It’s important to note – people are wearing work clothes (on their way to pick olives), as opposed to previous times when what people were wearing resulted in annoying questions.

The DCO vehicle leaves; he stops near us on his way.  W., the officer, tells us that more than 100 people received agricultural permits.  I remember years when hundreds of permits were issued.  Have those times passed?  The olive harvest is over officially at the end of the month but it may be extended if necessary.

The farmers say that the arrangements are reasonable.  They say that things were better last year, and that the cows have caused considerable damage.  They’re frustrated at their inability to deal with the damage.  They say that no cows have come through in recent weeks, but that they caused substantial damage in the past.

Now women come through, arriving later with older children after sending the younger ones off to school.

07:00  New Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint

We meet B., who works in one of the Shahak enterprises.  He’s sitting with his friends on the sidewalk, waiting for their ride to the workplace.  He tells us about Saturday’s funeral from Dahar al Malak to Tura, on which the soldiers fired (as described above).  I go down the road toward the Palestinian parking lot.  The guard in the booth and the armed security person stop me.  I complain that the Arab driver isn’t allowed to accompany me down to the parking lot.  They confirm, “Those are the rules.”  I correct them: “Procedures,” but they don’t understand the difference, and what’s wrong with their approach.  I give up trying to explain and continue on down.  Seven trucks on the road and five more in the parking lot.

Almost no taxis/drivers.  Few people crossing toward Barta’a.  The Shahak workers have already crossed, and are now waiting for their transportation to the workplaces.  The seamstresses have also crossed.  The few people still arriving cross quickly, pass through the terminal in a wink and enter the fenced corridor without delay.

The procedure is routine, normal.  Most people are crossing to the seam zone, a few to the West Bank.

07:10  Shaqed-Tura checkpoint

The checkpoint opens at 6:00.  Only a few people were crossing when we arrived.  The pupils in school on the West Bank received two days off to help with the olive harvest.  The teachers from Tura employed in Umm Reihan are working as usual.  Crossing is routine – inspection in the building, cars checked as usual.  Women with small children cross to the West Bank, the children accompanying their mothers into the inspection building.  To the greater glory of the State of Israel!