Reihan, Shaked, Tue 19.2.08, Morning
Tami S, Hassida S (reporting)
07:35 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
Very cold, needles of rain penetrating the bones.
A taxi with students being checked thoroughly. Some of the passengers go through without a check, others sent through the inspection room. A number of schoolchildren pass without any check. Two private cars being checked meticulously, seems that only the drivers go through the room.
Rain aggressively drives us away.
07:50 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
A lot of minibus taxis waiting for passengers in the upper parking lot. Few have passed so far, apparently because of the weather. According to them, a large proportion are being checked in the rooms. Toilet check: of the three cubicles, two are locked. The third is dirty. Water flowing in the flush tank and from the tap, but the soap dish is empty and there is no paper. Who is responsible for maintenance? The security company? And in the same context: the chemical lavatories that were, and stank, in the lower parking lot have been taken away, with a promise that they would be replaced, but a long time has passed and there are no toilets.
Descent in the sleeve to the terminal did not produce any other data, apart from an emotional meeting between Tami and a youngster from Harduf, named Harry. He is a chiropractor with a permit to cross into the West Bank, and he deals with patients in Yaabed as a volunteer. He leaves his car at the upper lot, passes through the terminal and continues by taxi to Yabed. May there be many like him...
Till we descended to the lower parking lot the flow of transients picked up. Passage in both directions seems to flow without problems.
Below, we met our driver acquaintances. M. told us that recently Salem DCO has started to give magnetic cards to residents of the villages in the area who were born in Bartaa but live in the West Bank. The suggestion was that this was being done to counter the production of forged passes, which are worthless without the magnetic card. Conversely, it saves residents with family in the Seam Zone from the need for agricultural or other permits. We were told that the cards are distributed to anyone who comes to the DCO till the 15th of this month or the 15th of March. Not clear which.
Vehicle checkpoint: four cars in parallel in the tent. We could not see if the drivers were present or pushed away.
Two pickups loaded with sheep and eggs, and a Transit with vegetables, waiting to be inspected. A load of eggs waiting under the roof for transfer. Out of curiousity I went to see if the eggs were stamped "Hermon" after reading this morning Gideon Levi’s criticism of Oded Ben Ami’s tv report that the eggs suspected for salmonella are being brought to Israel for sale. There was no rubber stamp on the eggs at Reihan, and they are apparently only for consumption in the Seam Zone.
Tami as usual checks with regard cancellation of the quarantine. The rain falls, the checkpoint stands in its place, survival continues here, but the rating is low... Who wants to see or know?