Reihan, Shaked, Tue 3.3.09, Afternoon

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Anna N.S., Miriam B. (Reporting)

Translation: Bracha B.A.

Jalameh, 15:30

At noon we picked up Aya, a babyinfo-icon undergoing dialysis in Rambam Hospital and her mother, and drove them to Jalameh.  Because of the stormy weather and some wrong turns, we didn’t arrive at Jalameh until 15:30.
There were only a few people coming in and out.  Agricultural and construction workers have not gone out to work because of the heavy rains, and the checkpoint was empty of pedestrians.  Aya and her mother went through within a few minutes.
A woman with a two-week-old infant was sitting in the covered area outside waiting for her husband who had been in the terminal for the past half hour.  They are going to visit her family in Muqeibleh – an Israeli-Arab village west of Jalameh Checkpoint.  Several Israeli Arab women passed through the terminal returning from shopping in Jenin, laden with shopping bags.

Shaked-Tura Checkpoint, 16:30
Traffic is light.  While talking with a soldier who explained that he was the checkpoint commander, we learned that about 150 people came back and forth through the checkpoint today.  We understood from his explanations that schoolchildren are required to go through the inspection booth, but when there is a backup the soldiers quickly check the children’s documents at the gate.  The soldier behaved politely and answered all of our questions.
Reihan Checkpoint 16:50 
Dozens of women arrived returning from work.  They told us that there were four windows open in the terminal and that they had gone through without delay.  Their arrival led to a backup in the lower parking lot before the women dispersed to their cars.  Suddenly a violent fight broke out in the parking lot between one of the permanent drivers and another young man who began to act wild and curse.  A steel bar was suddenly produced and the quarrel became even more violent.  The drivers separated the two combatants and the young man got into his friends’ car, which drove away, tires skidding.  It returned after a few minutes and the young man emerged holding a huge scimitar. 
At this point the civilian security personnel who operate the checkpoint called the army, and an armored vehicle arrived in the parking lot with three armed soldiers.  The arrival of the army calmed things down, but the two sides stood in tense quiet.
The soldiers found two huge scimitars underneath one of the cars, and after they reported it to their commanders they received instructions to search the rest of the cars in the lower parking lot.  Despite our questions the quarrelers refused to tell us why the quarrel had broken out.   We left at 17:20.