'Anin, Jalama, Reihan, Shaked, Thu 31.12.09, Afternoon

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Neta G., Hasida S. (Reporting)

Translation: Bracha B.A.

It is a beautiful spring-like day, with blue skies and white clouds, green fields and clear air.  It would have been a delightful trip had it not been for the checkpoints we visited.Jalameh, 14:30
We brought little Aya and her mother from the hospital in Haifa to the checkpoint and observed the terminal, which looks like an international crossing. Many cars with Israeli license plates are waiting in line to be checked at the vehicle crossing.  The cars are checked, the passengers stand next to them.  Everything looks as if it is part of a calm routine.  In the parking lot on the other side of the border, next to the gas station, we saw three buses from which families were getting out, returning from visiting Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel.  They walked beyond the terminal to Palestinian buses waiting on the other side.

We drove through the lovely panorama of Wadi Ara and into the hills past Mei Ami to the A’anin agricultural checkpoint.

A’anin Checkpoint 15:10
The gatesinfo-icon are wide open and soldiers are inside, just between the gates.  They were waiting for the last two people on the list who had left in the morning to come back.  Only eight people have gone out today.  We drove on.

Shaked Checkpoint 15:15

Two high school students who live in Dahar el Malak returned from school.  The grocery story has also been removed from the area of the army camp that has been cleared.  Only a sofa remains there, abandoned.  The parking lot next to the second camp that was supposed to have been returned to its Palestinian owner is still paved with asphalt and is still being used as a parking lot for people coming to the camp. 

Reihan Checkpoint, 15:25
Cars are double- and triple-parked in the lower parking lot and there is no room to move.  We are told that drivers have already been fined for double parking, but apparently it’s only a rumor.  Since the yellow gate on the road from the checkpoint to Jenin at the top of the hill was removed and the “Bazel Road” was opened, there are many more cars that come to the parking lot and an additional parking lot has opened opposite the village of Zabda.  This was apparently an initiative of one of the local residents.  We are told that he takes “a few pennies” for parking.  Neta brought several bags of used clothing and before she managed to get out of the car the men rushed to the trunk and either deliberately or by mistake took some of her private belongings, which she took back from their cars.

There is a problem that drivers remain in the parking lot for many hours, and there are no restrooms.  The area next to the shed smells of urine. Sometimes women wait there as well; it is a serious problem.  The security company (which runs the checkpoint) claims that it is the responsibility of the army to build restrooms there.  (There used to be two smelly chemical toilets there, which were never cleaned).  The army places the responsibility upon the company and they have no solution.  Ironically they claim that the terminal at Reihan  “serves the local population”!