'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 8.12.08, Morning

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Leah R., Anna N.S.

Translated by L.W 

The first day of Eid al Adha – Festival of the Sacrifice

06:00 - 06:15 Aanin Checkpoint (agricultural)
The olive harvest ended a week ago. The checkpoint opened late, but no one was waiting. The checkpoint was empty on both sides, with no traffic. In place of that, we hear the muezzin calling to prayers. A festive quiet today – a quietness that is unfamiliar to us...

06:30 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
On the way to the checkpoint we meet few people in either direction. The checkpoint is open, but nobody is seeking to cross to the Seam Zone, or to return to the West Bank. We hear the loud prayers of believers at a number of mosques simultaneously, echoing across the whole area. Against the background of greenery and autumnal weather, we are tempted to bask in the one-time festive atmosphere.

06:45 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
In the upper parking lot, no sign of taxis or men and women waiting as every morning. However, in the lower lot much ado and excitement that we have not seen in a long time. Our driver acquaintances are waiting for passengers returning home for the festival. In the sleeveinfo-icon, scores of people crowded in the direction of the West Bank, loaded with bags and bouquets of flowers for presents. The sleeve is closed by a barred gate. The checkpoint will open at 07:00, like Saturdays. Two private cars are waiting to be checked. The first driver stands outside his vehicle. The loudspeaker announces, in Hebrew, that inspection will begin at 07:00. Loud barking from the dog pen where a minder is training a German shepherd.

07:00 – most of the time two windows are operating in the terminal: people returning to the West Bank from work in the seam enclave and in Israel. At least two hundred people during this hour. People with packages stuck in the turnstile. The festive atmosphere fades from the tired faces, and in the voiced complaints of distress and frustration. The transit itself is running quite efficiently. People cross the terminal in minutes, and wave a greeting from the other side. Even people delayed for a repeated check do not wait more than a few minutes. We observe a willingness to preserve an air of correctness on the side of the security company workers and the soldiers.

08:15 – we left.