Mevo Dotan (Imriha), Reihan, Shaked, Sun 24.7.11, Morning

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Observers: Ruti T., Hasida S. (reporting)


Translated by Ilil N.-B.

Theme of the day: The smirk in the occupation

6:00-6:55: Reihan Checkpoint

The checkpoint has been open since 5am. A few of the seamstresses are already exiting the terminal.  They’re dresses all in black today, how come?  The lower parking lot is still empty.  Passage through the terminal takes only a few minutes.

The restroom is clean and well-stocked.  In the shed, egg cartons await merchants from Barta’a. Rugs adorn the floor and a rope separates out the prayer area.  There’s even a bed to rest on.  We’ve agreed to get someone to sign a request to cancel his prohibition on entry into Israel, and also to charge him money for court and lawyer expenses.  We wait for him for half an hour but he doesn’t show up.  So in the meantime, we “pop over” to the Mevo Dotan checkpoint.

Mevo Dotan Checkpoint

Cars loaded with workers and agricultural produce have been passing through since before 5am, but the checkpoint isn’t manned.  We guess the danger only starts at 8am or 9am.  The electricity generator, however, is working.  How come, really?

Reihan Checkpoint (again)

About ten merchandise-laden cars are having their papers checked and proceeding to baggage checks under the silvery checkpoint roofs.  It’s a more spacious area than the rest, probably to allow for simultaneous examinations. 

The Palestinian we have been waiting for answers the phone (there’s reception only in the south-east corner of the parking lot, a place that used to hold putrid-smelling restrooms).  He’s still at home, and says he’ll arrive within an hour.  Oh well, we’ll go back to Shaked and return in an hour.

7:02-7:45: Shaked Checkpoint

The gatesinfo-icon are already open.  A long line snakes out from the eastern side, and people are crowding the other side, too.  The archaeologist waits patiently for the labourers and their minibus.  Ancient relics have been discovered at the Shahak area.  Regulars complain about the crowdedness and delay, but at 7:30 everything’s over and the place is quiet once again.

A banker in a suit arrives, exits his car and goes in to get checked.  He has an awesome remote control for his car: now standing at a distance from the vehicle, at the entrance to the checkpoint hut, he presses the remote and the car and its windows lock automatically.   But his power is an illusion.  There’s a bigger ruler here.  Since the checkpoint looks free and empty, he returns to the car, turns on the ignition, and drives half a meter towards the checkpoint crossing.  A soldier in a helmet and Kevlar vest jumps out in anger, waving his hand and shouting “Irdja, irdja”, go back! (Who are you, well-dressed Palestinian, compared to me?! Your little remote may be powerful but mine’s more so. Irdja, irdja!). The banker stops, backs up the half-meter, and the strong, ruling soldier holds out his hand in a gesture that says, “You can pass only when I say so!”. 

We get mad at the soldier and yell that his behavior is despicable!  This is, after all, a “fabric of life” checkpoint.  Soldiers are mandated to respect all citizens who must cross here each day, since one village is separated from its neighbor by a fence and a checkpoint!

The car doors open.  The soldier peeks inside.  The driver turns on the ignition, but the trunk remains open.  The soldier closes it himself and the ceremony is thus concluded.  We’re embarrassed, and wonder whether it was our angry rebuke that made the soldier close the trunk himself without hassling the driver any further?