It’s annoying even to simply say “the occupation routine,” and so very frustrating.
06:10 The large Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint continues to expand; new buildings, which purpose is unclear, have been going up.
Many laborers already wait outside for their rides; more keep coming. We asked one of them how long it took him – he’d gotten on line at 05:00, entered at 05:30 and exited the facility at 06:00.
We enter the “sleeve,” the very long fenced corridor leading to the entrance/exit of the inspection building. It’s better organized than similar facilities elsewhere, with two revolving gates, one to enter and another to exit, and you don’t have to push your way in.
Most welcome us with a smile, say “today’s better than yesterday;” everything’s relative, apparently. Most exit holding their belts, arranging their clothes as they come. There’s a bench next to the exit/entrance. A few very well-dressed women come out, greet us warmly, wait for one another. They say today is good because the soldier at the machine is working quickly.
06:30 An endless flow of people comes through. There are two document inspection stations and only one scanner, but today most people are pleased.
06:45 We exit the “sleeve” and leave the checkpoint.
06:55 Shaked-Tura checkpoint
No soldiers, the gate from the seamline zone is open, only the one leading to the Palestinian Authority is locked. People already wait there to cross.
The olive groves near the checkpoint have been plowed and pruned, awaiting the rain that stil hasn’t come.
07:00 A heavily armored military vehicle arrives; soldiers emerge and get organized. A vehicle arrives from the seamline zone, a Palestinian gets out, and waits at the open gate for the soldiers to signal him to enter.
07:04 People begin crossing. Sixteen enter the checkpoint area.
07:07 The first woman crosses, gets into a waiting car and drives off.
07:09 A second person exits, also gets into a waiting car and leaves.
It’s a school vacation so there are no children or teachers at the checkpoint. But we do meet the principal who speaks fluent Hebrew. He says he worked many years in the carpet factory at the Shahak industrial zone; when he was offered the job of principal he didn’t get severance pay from the factory because he resigned. He still works there during vacations and on weekends to supplement his income.
07:15 A constant flow of people exiting the checkpoint; few entering; cars cross in both directions after a quick inspection.
The owner of the flock of sheep arrives, greets us warmly. He hasn’t taken out his flock because there’s no grass. He says only heaven knows whether and when it will rain.
There was a delay at the entrance to the checkpoint; we heard angry voices. A man emerged, very angry,because the soldier refused to let him bring in two old shirts belonging to his sister; he argued with the soldier, which was apparently the reason for the delay. He finally managed to carry them through.
Another Palestinian complains about Tali, the Salem DCO civilian liaison officer,whose job is to issue permits. She doesn’t answer the phone, sends people hither and yon and treats those who need her services very badly. His permit hasd expired and had to be renewed. There was no problem with it, only her indifference and lack of consideration.
07:35 Fewer people cross.
Chana, the veteran, says more people went through today, and also many young people.
07:50 We left the checkpoint.