Jalama, Mevo Dotan (Imriha), Reihan, Shaked, Sun 20.3.11, Morning

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Ruthie T., Hasidah S. (reporting)

Translator:  Charles K.

Mavo Dothan checkpoint 06:00

The checkpoint isn’t manned.  Little traffic

Reihan checkpoint  06:10 - 06:45

Some of the seamstresses (who live on the West Bank and work in eastern Barta’a) were outside the terminal when we arrived.  One complained that they asked her to unzip her jacket; she was uncomfortable because she had on a short-sleeved blouse.  We went down to the lower parking lot (the Palestinian lot).  People arriving entered immediately; the revolving gate stopped after five went in.  People go in “five at a time,” as usual.  We were told that everything was going smoothly inside the terminal.  But someone noted that sometimes people whose clothes are wet (from rain, for example) are inspected in a room off to the side.  We timed two people – it took them about 10 minutes to go through.  Vehicles aren’t much delayed either.  But there are still people on foot waiting for the cars in which they arrived.  We noticed, not for the first time, that there are Palestinians crossing from the seam zone to the West Bank who only swipe a magnetic cardinfo-icon near the vehicle checkpoint, and others who have to walk through the fenced corridor to be inspected inside the terminal.  The distinction isn’t clear to us.

Since this checkpoint isn’t the final one before entering Israel, the curfew isn’t felt here at all.

Shaked checkpoint  07:00 – 0:45

The checkpoint is open, a few cars cross with the usual procedure: a car approaches the concrete barrier, the driver gets out and goes to be inspected inside, returns putting his belt back on, and only then is the car inspected and he crosses.  The little children open their satchels, the soldiers glance inside and they cross.  We saw the same procedure with an older pupil.  Some of the students entered the inspection building.  The old man on the white donkey crossed, wearing dark glasses.  The flocks of sheep must have sufficient pasture on the West Bank side. 

About 20 people waited by the revolving gate on the Tura side.  We timed how long it took a man and a woman to go through  - a minute or two, including the inspection room.  Two of the women who came through waited for the inspection of the car in which they’d continue.

Jalama checkpoint  08:30 – 09:00

At Jalama, the curfew is in effect.  No one can enter Israel.  We came to get Aya and her mother but we weren’t allowed to cross.  It turned out they had a permit that expired yesterday, and the new permit is valid starting tomorrow (!).  Aya, who’s four years old, goes to Rambam hospital 4-5 times a week for dialysis, and they know her at the checkpoint.  But the computer says she doesn’t have a permit.  We got angry.  Yuval Roth (director of the organization Baderekh LeHakhlama, which transports Palestinian patients to Israeli hospitals) called the DCO, Ruthie called the DCO – they’ll look into it.  Nissim, n charge of the checkpoint’s operation, also called the DCO.  Aya and her mother received a temporary, one-time permit on the spot, and we took them to Rambam hospital.

We also heard from Nissim that no one crosses during curfew, but humanitarian cases are sent to the Reihan checkpoint.  Rules are rules!  And what if someone in need of urgent care comes to this checkpoint, where they usually cross, or they live nearby?  Let them pay for a taxi to make a detour to Reihan, which isn’t considered an entry checkpoint to Israel.  It’s easy to make someone go out of their way, make them waste time and money, in order to avoid instituting a special procedure for humanitarian cases.

On the other hand, Israeli Arabs are allowed to enter the West Bank, but only by car.  A few women who tried to cross through the terminal were sent to find a taxi or someone with a car who could take them in.