'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 18.8.08, Morning
05:30 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
People coming out of the sleeve report that the checkpoint opened on time this morning, at 05:00, but the pace is particularly slow, in their opinion, for the last week, but this morning even more so.
We listen to a man who served a prison term and a provisional sentence for being illegal in Israel – the "provisional for a year" having been extended twice without trial (and this prevents him from getting permits). Another man complains about retention of his severance pay by the lawyer who represented him in Israel.
06:10 Aanin Checkpoint
At the junction for Aanin we already meet three tractors pulling wagonloads of men, women, and children, who attest that the gate has been opened on time and traffic was very fast. Somebody comments that we were not there exactly when the gate has opened....
At 07:00 people were still passing through the checkpoint, and they reported that 20 odd were still waiting.
07:15 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
Three cars in the direction of the Seam Zone waiting for passengers. Seven men waiting at the turnstile to enter the Seam Zone. People coming out say that today is okay. The checkpoint opened on time and passage was fast. Vehicle checks taking three to five minutes. A shepherd on a donkey, and his flock, go through without waiting.
07:45 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
We are delayed at the checkpoint because our guest, an Israeli Arab born in Kfar Kara, living in Haifa, is not allowed to enter without a "kapchi" permit (whatever that may be?). A series of phone calls doesn’t help. The Bartaa bus, which has arrived together with us, leaves with women and children.
Our guest, who knows some of the people concerned – goes off to phone, forgoes the descent to the lower parking lot and we ask them to open the gate for us, but today we need a special permit. Meanwhile, people passing us in the sleeve report that there was a serious block in the terminal. Cars are being checked and are passing in the checkpoint to our left. At 08:25 (after 40 minutes!) We are finally allowed to enter – without our guest.
Eight people come to the lower entry gate, and go straight in. Seven more also enter without delay, but are compelled to sit on the ground inside the sleeve. At 08:30 the sleeve is empty. At 08:35 a van and two cars are at the inspection point, and two loaded pickups go on their way into the Seam Zone. I. says that he has waited for an hour this morning at Dotan Checkpoint.
08:45 – at the upper parking lot we are greeted by a driver with "what’s going on at the checkpoint this morning?" He contends that the last of the workers at the sewing plant passed at 08:00. "Every quarter of an hour one worker." At 09:00 a man comes out with a small child. According to him they passed in two minutes: "There’s no one inside." At the entrance to the terminal – one window is functioning and, true, almost no one coming in or out. The cold water installation has vanished. The security man thinks it is being repaired.