Jalama, Reihan, Shaked, Thu 15.10.09, Afternoon

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Neta G., Bracha B.A. (Reporting & photography)

Jalameh – 14:10
We arrived at Jalameh after driving Aya and her mother Suheil from Rambam Hospital.  We immediately saw a group of women from Jenin who complained that things are difficult at the checkpoint in the morning and that people are delayed.

he new facility for vehicle crossing has begun to operate since Tuesday of this week.  The crossing is open from 08:00 until 17:00 and is now being tested.  We spoke with Tzachi, the head of the checkpoint who answered our questions politely.  Israelis who wish to cross must ask for a permit at the Central Command of the IDF.  Israelis “…whose lives will not be endangered” are permitted to cross and visit Jenin.  The opening of the vehicle crossing is a positive step, since it encourages business in Jenin and enabled families to visit each other.  There was a line of 8 cars in front of the inspection hut and another 10 next to the inspection facility.  There was no waiting line in the terminal.

Shaked-Tura, 14:20
Since the gate at A’anin was not yet open, we decided to first observe Shaked Checkpoint and then return to A’anin.  On the way at the junction near Reihan we saw people standing on the road, several cars, and glass scattered about.
Shaked Checkpoint was very quiet at this hour.  An Israeli car dropped off two women, a man, and a child, who crossed into the West Bank.
When we drove back towards A’anin we stopped at the junction where the people had been to ask what had happened, and a man told us that there had been a quarrel between two people, and it was now over.  He refused to say any more.

A’anin, 15:30

Now that the olive harvest has begun, A’anin agricultural checkpoint is open every day.  When we arrived there were about 60 people, tractors, and wagons standing in front of the closed gate.  A man was gathering everyone’s I.D. cards and arranging the order by which people would pass through.  The soldiers, who are now equipped with a laptop computer, check people’s documents, but this added technology does not seem to make the checkpoint more efficient: in fact, we have never seen such a delay here.  At 15:40 the gate opened and the man holding everyone’s I.D.’s began calling names.  People waited patiently and the checks were done slowly.  A car from the Liaison and Coordination Administration left, apparently deciding that the passage was efficient enough.  At 16:15 there were still 30 people waiting, and the first tractor and wagon with two women was still being detained in front of the second gate.  At 16:20 all the tractors had gone through and there were still 15 people outside.

The last person passed through the gate at 16:25.  It took an entire hour to let 60 people back to their homes in the village of A’anin from the seamline zone, where they had been working all day on their own land!
A soldier with the rank of captain came close the gate and we approached him to ask why the tractor and wagon with the women had been detained.  Neta asked politely if we could ask him something.
“No,” the captain replied curtly.
“I don’t want to talk to you.”
We left for Reihan.

16:45 Reihan Barta’a
4 cars are waiting to be checked at the vehicle checkpoint.  There is a line of about 30 people at the entrance to the terminal and only one window open.  The usual situation – occasionally the turnstile opened, and 5-6 people went in.  At 16:55 Neta tried to call Sharon to ask him to open another window.  The didn’t answer, but after a short time another window opened and traffic flowed more quickly.  We hoped both windows would remain open and left.