Reihan, Shaked, Sat 1.12.07, Morning
07:30 - 08:15 Shaked (Tura) Checkpoint
Upon our arrival we encounter some 20 people waiting to cross from the Seam Zone to the West Bank. From the other side of the checkpoint, a group is waiting to cross into the Seam Zone - we cannot see how many, but we hear that they are angry, as are the soldiers, and there are loud vocal exchanges. Seems like there is a delay and no movement whatsoever, even though there are more soldiers than usual, and a military vehicle.
It is an unusual picture for a Saturday morning.
We call the DCO. The line begins to move and, within half an hour, all have passed.
Then, on their initiative, two soldiers approach us to explain the situation at the checkpoint from their viewpoint (quote from memory): "This morning we opened earlier, but suddenly a number of taxis loaded with people arrived together. There are few soldiers and only one checking station. The rest of the soldiers here arrived with the patrol vehicle for a break. In the inspection hut (the aquarium) bags are being checked and there is an x-ray machine. People remove their belts because they interfere with the x-ray, but they do not undress... At this checkpoint the technological inspection possibilities are less efficient, and so it is more important to us to be very careful, and to check them one by one. In the past, the soldiers were more courteous (for example, they let people stand closer to them), but it caused arguments and uproar, so today there is less willingness to accept them courteously... You (MW) have to understand that it is also hard for the soldiers to stand long hours outside, with full kit... Our soldiers were deeply hurt by your call to the DCO, following which they called us. We are doing our best in the given conditions... All the time we passed people at a the most rapid rate possible, and because no more arrived at the checkpoint, the line eventually emptied..."
08:30 - 09:30 Reihan (Bartaa) Checkpoint
Today there is lively traffic at the checkpoint. At first only a few are crossing to the West Bank, and then more and more, including groups of gleeful children from Bartaa on an excursion.
In this direction traffic is rapid, and only the group of children took a half hour to pass.
From the terminal toward the Seam Zone people are coming out all the time, and they say that many are waiting inside and that it takes between an hour and an hour and a half, as it does every day now.
"What sort of a life is this, what sort of a life, and what are you doing? Only writing and writing..." They complain about the attitude, particularly towards the old and the sick.
Cars passing to the West Bank are also checked thoroughly and for a long time. Cars coming from the West Bank are being checked as usual in groups of four, under a tent roof. Each such group takes 20-30 minutes.