Reihan, Shaked, Tue 25.3.08, Morning

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Shula B. (reporting)

06:30 Reihan Checkpoint (opened at 05:40)
Familiar activity for this hour - most of the traffic is from the West Bank towards the Seam Zone and Israel. 150 seamstresses have already crossed - Walid counts them as they arrive in 7-8 minibuses with 10-12 seats in each - and others who come on foot from the bridge facing Zabda. Groups and individuals arrive, mostly men, and immediately enter the terminal. There is no way of knowing exactly what happens inside. Sharon, who manages the checkpoint on behalf of the security company, invites us for a tour inside the terminal (coordinated by phone with him). It is worthwhile to accept the invitation in order to see what happens there early in the morning.
In addition to the tea/coffee vendor in the upper parking lot, and Walid in the lower lot, there is another vendor, a member of Walid's family (who received a permit from the DCO to stand with a vehicle and sell food in the parking lot). They are all trying to make a living from selling soft drinks and candy. Four vans are waiting to cross, loaded with sheep, whose time has come, and endless eggs. Within the closed compound, a number of vans and a bus are being checked.
07:15 Shaked Checkpoint
Twenty men waiting on the Tura side to cross into the Seam Zone, plus a flock of goats and a man riding a donkey. A number of vehicles and a tractor wait on the other side. It is moving quite quickly, the vehicle checks being done swiftly. Schoolchildren arrive slowly, their satchels being inspected in the shopping mall style, even the satchel of a toddler crossing with the mother.   A yellow Palestinian taxi empties out its passengers (all students), who then walk into the checking hut. An older woman does not leave the taxi: she is ill, travelling to Nablus for tests after her seventh heart operation (!). The driver passes the checkpoint and collects his passengers on the other side, then continues towards Jenin. Two flocks of goats cross from Tura to the fields facing the checkpoint. The goats go through the checkpoint quietly and politely. [L]