'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Thu 21.2.13, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
The soldiers opened the checkpoint a few minutes early. Six tractors and about 20 people cross without delay with all their belongings of whatever kind. All went through by 15:10. A pleasant sergeant and second lieutenant approach us. They’re pretty new at the checkpoint, have been here about a month, and the second lieutenant has just become an officer. We leave. The janitor, a resident of Tura who makes his living cleaning checkpoints, also leaves. The soldiers must wait until 15:30 in case anyone else comes.
15:25 Shaked-Tura checkpoint
It’s quiet. Very light traffic in both directions. We wonder for whom they built this checkpoint and filled it with so many traffic signs. The checkpoint janitor is now cleaning here.
We drive through the Shahak industrial area in the seam zone. As we drove we saw two picnic tables outside the army base and six classrooms and an administration building being added to the Tlalei Orot school for the settlements’ children. The school at Umm a-Reihan is also expanding.
Vehicles with Israeli license plates coexist wonderfully with Palestinian vehicles at the Shahak industrial area. The Palestinian vehicles belong to Palestinian residents of the seam zone. Palestinian residents of the West Bank can’t come here in their cars, “of course.”
16:15 Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint, seam zone side
We descend the fenced corridor to the terminal along with laborers returning from work. Only one inspection window is open. A few female students are returning from the West Bank; a line of 50 people immediately forms.
16:25 The second revolving gate opens; only Israeli work permit holders are allowed to cross. The line disappears in a few minutes. Two inspection windows open at 16:30 and there’s no line. Nor are people delayed crossing from the West Bank to the seam zone. One tells us, “It will be like this every day if you’re here.” It’s not easy to see the men coming out of the terminal holding their belts after removing them before going through the scanner.
They’re cleaning here also. Two Palestinians are doing the work.
Two little children run to the terminal in front of their parents. They play at the revolving gate and the water cooler at the entrance. Checkpoint games.
17:00 We leave; there’s no line. We hope it stays that way. A car stands at the vehicle checkpoint, its doors, trunk and hood open. The driver sits on a bench in the garden, waiting. Every corner of the car is inspected with the help of a mirror; finally the car and driver are released. Another car goes through immediately; only the driver’s documents are checked.