Reihan, Shaked, Sun 8.6.08, Morning
Chana H, Yocheved G
Eve of Shavuot
06:00 Reihan Checkpoint
A number of workers at the entrance to the checkpoint. They say there is closure, have to be back early. Apparently because of this, fewer men are crossing. "The Jews are celebrating and the Palestinians are suffering." Who will pay the day’s wage?
06:15 – at the entrance to the terminal, from the Palestinian parking lot, workers at Shahak Industrial Zone are being forbidden transit because of the closure. We spoke to the DCO and they told us to talk to Sharon, who is responsible for the checkpoint. Sharon says there has to be an order from the army. Is Shahak "Israeli" or "Seam Zone"? Only at 07:30 we talked to Menashe Brigade and asked why passage to Shahak isn’t allowed. Answer: it is a policy decision...
Our response: for us a festival, for them damage? They said they would check... We did not receive an answer. This matter needs to be clarified once and for all.
07:00 Shaked Checkpoint
The checkpoint opened at this hour, with some 20 men waiting. A flock of sheep passes, but a taxi with a mother and sick child is detained. The child has to get to Rambam Hospital (Yuval has come to get him), but according to the documents he is supposed to cross at the distant Reihan Checkpoint. The mother preferred Shaked because it is faster and not crowded – in order to keep the child (who is wearing a mask) from coming in contact with many people. After negotiation with Sharon, it is agreed that he can pass at Shaked, but then it becomes clear that the mother’s ID card is at Rambam. Again phone calls and delays till it becomes clear that the father can go with him and bring the ID card (an hour and a half’s delay for a child with oncological problems needing chemotherapy!).
Can we act to get an arrangement where a sick person with an invitation to hospital can cross at any checkpoint?
A Palestinian was arrested next to us, and said that his Israeli employer was greedy. He paid wages (100 shekels) every few days, and then began to pay with cheques that bounced. Since four workers were involved, they approached an Israeli lawyer who wanted a lot of money. We directed him to the MW lawyers for advice, and gave telephone numbers of ACRI (Association for Civil Rights). Among the four are "illegals" which makes it difficult for them in the face of the employer’s threats.
08:30 Reihan Checkpoint
Five pick up trucks loaded with produce are waiting. The first two entered the inspection compound at 07:30, but haven’t yet come out!
Eight cars are waiting in line – and a pick up carrying sheep. The pace is slow, and today, of course, entry for pick ups ends at 12:30.
We left at 08:45 (the first pick ups weren’t yet out). [LW]