'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 28.1.08, Morning
Neta G., Anna N.S. (reporting)
06:05 Aanin Checkpoint
It's dark, cold and rainy. The wind penetrates the bones. A Hummer illuminates the checkpoint centre and towards the lower gate (from the village). About 30 people wait at the end of the barrier, in the mud. Alongside them a number of tractors. The soldier takes IDs and checks a man’s face against the picture, helped by another soldier, asks the man to remove his hat, provokes him by saying the ID is a forgery. The man takes the humiliation with a bare head in the cold, submissively. Every resident is suspect till he can prove otherwise. So three men are sent back home, perhaps because of a suspected forged ID. In one case they confiscate the man’s permit and send him home despite his vigorous protests.
06:30 – all the waiting people have clustered on the inside of the checkpoint, while the soldiers close the gates. Within an hour 30 people and the tractors have passed, in pouring rain and freezing cold.
07:00 – one man and a tractor waiting to be checked; we leave.
07:10 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
Few waiting on the Seam Zone side. Today there is no school because of mourning for George Habash, the Palestinian leader.
Passage in the checking hut is fast.
07:20 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
Despite the cold there is traffic, mostly coming out of the West Bank to work in the Seam Zone and Israel. The cold and rain kept the agricultural and construction labourers at home.
A group of workers on their way to Bartaa, waiting for the regular taxi to take them. They say the taxi is delayed for an hour by the inspection, and they are cold and soaking wet from the rain under an insufficient roof. Today there are inspections also in side rooms, which are crowded and (according to the workers) smelly. People are checked there after having already passed two inspections.
The drivers also preferred to stay home. There is not much money to be made on a day like this. The only one who doesn’t disappoint: Walid. He is already there with coffee and halva.
Passage is ordinary for permit holders. Up to the exit time, a line of some 11 taxis wait for checks, while yellow number-plates (Israeli) and blue blood flash by. At a certain moment, all the taxis hoot to speed up the check, but even that protest is short – too short and without effect.
Some seven vans wait to be checked in the compound. The dog is on holiday today.
08:30 – we leave.