'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Sun 6.11.11, Morning

Ruthi T., Yochi A., (reporting)

Translation: Bracha B.A.

Today is the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid Al Adha.

Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيدالأضحى‎‘Īd al-’Aḍḥá, IPA: [ʕiːd al ʔadˁˈħaː], "feast of sacrifice") or "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son Ishmael (Isma'il) as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep to sacrifice instead.[1] (Wikipedia)

06:50 – A'anin Checkpoint

The checkpoint is closed and there is no one there.

07:00 – Shaked Tura Checkpoint

Soldiers are present but at this hour everything is still quiet. Gradually people from the West Bank side begin to arrive – families, single individuals, fathers with children. People pass through the inspection booth quickly. There is almost no one going towards the West Bank. We left at 07:30.

07:45 – Reihan Barta'a Checkpoint

We heard that the checkpoint will be opened at 08:00 like on Saturdays.  Groups of people are wandering back and forth around the checkpoint, waiting to cross.  People are loaded down with packages and bags. A young man holds a pretty bouquet of flowers – a present for his wife, but when I tell him they are pretty he offers them to me.

At 07:50 16 adults, four children, and one babyinfo-icon are waiting at the turnstile.  We were told that the checkpoint opened at 05:00 for the workers on the night shift, but immediately closed again a half hour ago. 

At 08:00 a woman's voice announces "Good morning, Crossing begins," over the PA system and an armed guard opens the turnstile at the entrance.

At 08:05 the turnstile opens and people begin to cross in both directions.  Two windows are open. We call the security guards and ask them to open the door next to the turnstile so that people can go through without getting caught in the turnstile.  To our surprise they agreed and opened the door. People continue to go through in both directions. One illegal is sitting on the bench inside.

A cleaning worker comes along with a broom and removes any trace of dirt from the checkpoint, and a new armed guard is being trained by a foreman. There are no trucks with merchandise today and no vehicles are waiting to be checked.    

When we asked we were told that throughout the four days of the holiday the checkpoint would be open from 08:00 – 23:00.  Note that this checkpoint is manned 24 hours a day for humanitarian purposes. We left at 08:30.