'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 30.6.08, Morning
An especially aggravating day; nothing functions properly – checking equipment doesn’t work, transit of people is lackadaisical, Palestinian time wasted.
05:10 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
Scores of men crowded up to the gate leading to the terminal. One on top of the other, streaming to the gate, however possible. The women stand aside quietly. The x-ray machine is broken. A man says that yesterday people returning to the West Bank were held up for two hours for the same reason. The seamstresses also complain that they are losing time and money because of the paralyzed machine.
05:15 – the checkpoint opens, men and women alternate, in groups of five. Required to empty or display contents of the bags, remove shoes. After ten minutes, transit stops. Sharon, the manager, arrives to check, but resolves nothing. 15 men and women are stuck inside the terminal. Those who succeeded in passing and exiting must in any case wait for their colleagues. After five minutes, flow starts again. Pace is very slow. In place of the broken down machine, people must undergo inspection in the side rooms. Mostly youngsters. Sharon says that heat inside the terminal harms the computer of the inspection machine.
Seven pickup trucks wait for inspection of their produce. Inspection now begins at 06:00 and continues until 16:00.
A resident of Zabda talks about his son (family man, unemployed four years), who has an eye problem, and needs to get to an East Jerusalem hospital for examination. He is at the DCO, waiting for a transit permit, which he may or may not get. The father is worried. He's in despair because he cannot help. Waiting for a phone call. The hospital examination is at 09:00, and if he doesn’t get the permit – what will happen to the son's eye?
06:10 Aanin Checkpoint
More than a hundred people are waiting to cross into the Seam Zone. The soldiers are checking them down below at the lower gate, far from our eyes. Pace of transit is slow. The checkpoint gates allow passage of one person, and they are only opened when a tractor arrives. Carriers of bags are required to spread the contents on the ground. Soldiers list every conceivable detail of the transients, including number of accompanying children. This listing considerably delays the passage.
A man tells us angrily that, last week, they confiscated his (student) son’s ID and agricultural pass. The son has exams in these days. His applications to the DCO were met with rudeness. No one is willing to listen or help. A direct call by us to the DCO also doesn’t help, but later, with the intervention of the army and Association for Civil Rights, the documents were returned to the son.
A number of people want to return home to Aanin. A woman wants to help her son who does not have a permit. She calls on the soldier’s compassion, but gets no answer. Two women want to visit a sick relative in nearby Um el-Reihan, and are sent to Reihan Checkpoint.
06:30 – the pace of transit picks up. Close to 07:00, the lower checkpoint is closed, and the check of those inside the checkpoint continues. Some 15-20 youngsters are not allowed to pass.
07:50 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
At this hour, few people passing in either direction. Individual cars go through.
08:10 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
Transit has stopped since 06:00. The tension and anger are unbearable. People are stuck in the terminal and outside. Somebody tells me that he needs a toilet, but there aren’t any. Some people give up on the day’s work and decide to go home. The DCO adamantly insists that everything is okay, but after we insist they say they will check. There is no DCO representative present. Sharon talks of a crashed system.
09:18 – the checkpoint opens again, and the rate of transit is disgustingly slow. In half an hour only ten people pass, including a woman with baby and two daughters. Towards 09:30, the rate increases. By Amriha we are told that there is also a checkpoint and vehicles are being delayed. Is this connected to the many Hummers observed floating around the West Bank?
09:50 – we left.