Reihan, Shaked, Tue 4.3.08, Morning
Tami S., Hassida S. (reporting)
07:30 - 08:25 Shaked Checkpoint
Weather is cloudy and still very cold.
A lot of traffic in both directions: schoolboys, women students from Um Reihan to Jenin, yellow taxis, private cars, workers going to the Seam Zone, a young man leading a donkey cart with a bulk load of adult diapers for the Lone House, and a goatherd taking his flock to crop the grasses close to the gate. Another flock has no permit but the goats are allowed to feed on the weeds between the fences.
Five soldiers on duty. One is stationed, with rifle pointing, in the concrete building. Two with weapons levelled in each direction at vehicles being examined, one soldier inspecting methodically, and apparently another one or two in the x-ray building.
Perfect order and silence everywhere. Cars coming from both directions enter for inspection one after the other, same for pedestrians. One goes in, another comes out. No shouts of "come here!" or waving hands. Seems that everyone in the production knows exactly what their role is, and performs it without question. After all are through, I talked with the soldiers. I asked and was answered quietly and politely. All this apparently as a result of the tension recently prevailing in the West Bank, following the situation in Gaza and the Western Negev.
I was told that yesterday there was a demonstration by the fence, stones were thrown and a tire was set on fire. Today, only tense silence.
Interesting to note the difference in behavior of the men who answered our "good morning" and spoke to us naturally, and the women, who held back, giggled, perhaps in mockery, and walked by with heads up and proudly into the x-ray installation.
08:00 - 09:30 Reihan Checkpoint
Thin pedestrian traffic in both directions. A number of people waiting to be checked in the area where cars enter the West Bank – not going through the sleeve.
The lower parking lot is full of drivers waiting for the hard to achieve income.
Recently, drivers of pickups loaded with produce have been required to cover all with plastic sheets before entering inspection. In addition: now each vehicle can have only five trays of eggs, also in covered with plastic. One of the drivers told me that it prevents the produce from slipping off the trays when offloaded for inspection.
That of course makes the produce more expensive. The drivers bring the vehicles to the inspection area and wait in a concealed area. There are porters who offload and reload after inspection. The whole process takes an hour or more per vehicle.
Private cars: checked by fours. I measured the time per check at 20 minutes.
Tami tries to help men with magnetic cards to find an employer for work in Israel.