Reihan, Shaked, Sat 1.3.08, Morning

Ruti T., Noah L. (reporting)

07:15 - 08:20 Shaked Checkpoint

This time we devoted the shift in Shaked to visiting the Lone House, which has been connected to the electric grid.. We walked through the olive groves, saw the electric poles that have shot up along the path from the border road, were invited into the house, and, lo and behold, a light was lit! We heard how it happened – enlistment of at least ten men from Tura who came to unload the poles on the other side of the fence (the truck was not allowed to cross), to load a truck on the other side; a digger that came to dig holes for the poles, their erection, then – finally – workers from the electric company came to fasten the cables in place. The water was also fixed. Now they are waiting for an electrician from Tura, who doesn’t yet have a permit to cross, to come and fix (again) the sockets in the house. Anyway, Anwar and his family say that life with electricity is a different world.

We sat and chatted a little about events at the checkpoint: as is already known, recentlt permits have been confiscated on the contention that the holders did not return the same day and at the same checkpoint. Evidently, people who cross on donkeys, carts or sometimes even in vehicles, are often improperly listed by the soldiers, and so when they return it is as if they are illegals returning home – which immediately leads to confiscation of the documents. The Palestinians are the ones punished when the soldiers don’t do their job properly.

How is the traffic at Shaked Checkpoint? It depends on the particular soldiers on the shift. Occasionally it is fast and easy, sometimes long, hard, and filled with humiliations. Once, when the line stopped, apparently for no reason, it was evident that the soldier supervising the x-ray machine had simply fallen asleep, and the Palestinians called his companions to come and wake him. Two children from Anwar’s family accompanied us back to the checkpoint, and, in good Hebrew learnt from soldiers, related additional things, including a story of an uproar at the checkpoint yesterday which caused it to close for an hour, and shots to be fired. We reached the checkpoint on foot from the direction of the border road and met  a large flock of goats passing through quickly, without delays (no x-rays). No one was waiting on either side.

08:30 - 09:40 Reihan Checkpoint

Relatively large number of cars waiting to be checked (perhaps ten), and the passage is relatively fast: we timed 12 minutes for one quartet. No one waiting at the entrance to the terminal, and people arriving go straight in. We timed half an hour for two people to pass. The drivers in the lower parking lot explain to us that Bartaa residents (only) are entitled to be checked next to their cars without having to go through the terminal, and that makes life easier and shortens the lines.