Reihan, Shaked, Sat 8.3.08, Morning

Observers: 
Sarit A., Rachel C. (reporting)
08/03/2008
|
Morning
(young) guest: Mayan B.

Shift marked by meticulous closureinfo-icon


07:00 Reihan Checkpoint
In the upper parking lot, quiet and empty. The only noise – dogs barking.
The yellow gate in the middle of the checkpoint is closed. The guards are getting ready for work. One of them, looking important, tells us that if we walk to the gate – they will open it. We went through it as it opened for an Israeli vehicle coming from the direction of the West Bank. We passed.
In the lower parking lot, 20 people from the West Bank are standing, not allowed to pass: closure!!! Only holders of Seam Zone resident IDs are allowed to enter the Zone. The carpet factory workers from Shahak Industrial Area relate that they work around the clock, including Yom Kippur and all the past closures. But today – no! Today, whoever enters the terminal is sent back. A resident of Yaabed (West Bank), owner of a supermarket in Bartaa (Seam Zone) rues the losses of the weekend.

While we are still phoning the DCO, taxis collect the refused workers and return to the West Bank. One of the people waiting wants to visit a very ill sister in Bartaa. He has an agricultural permit, but he too is not allowed to cross. S., the soldier at the DCO, contends that he is new, doesn’t know the rules or the sector, but nevertheless promises that he will clarify and act. And, indeed, after a few more pleading calls, a checkpoint worker arrives with someone who speaks Arabic, to explain that the factory owner should have arranged special permits for this closure. He collects IDs from people, and after 15 minutes they are returned by another woman, who explains that today only residents of Bartaa, teachers and "humanitarian" (whatever that is?) can cross. Workers are denied! Let the boss worry about the future...

We gave the guest a tour of the place. In the terminal the Military Police position was manned. On the facing wall a picture hangs. From the distance, it was difficult to discern – Monet? Pissaro? Perhaps in future there will be an art gallery for the waiting Palestinians...
The upper parking lot is empty both of travellers and taxis. No cars in line waiting to enter the West Bank.

08:25 we arrive at Shaked Checkpoint
The gate is wide open. A student passes. A farmer, used to crossing with his tractor, is not allowed through today. His son, who lives in Um Reihan, works during the week at Shahak and on Saturdays comes to help his father. He waits by us and asks that we clarify what's going on. Again S. from the DCO. He doesn’t understand where we are standing, and from where and to where the tractor wants to cross. "From our side? From their side?" He asks for the ID number of the father and finally comes back with the answer – not possible: everything is under closure, which will be removed in the evening, and tomorrow all arrangements (or all closures) will be back as usual.
Inshallah.

09:00 – we leave.