'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 2.6.08, Morning

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Anna NS, Neta G (reporting & photographer)
05:30 - 08:15

On the way to Reihan Checkpoint, a new brown tourist sign of the National Parks Authority: Um Reihan with the symbol of forest, vantage point and footpath. Another sign of "normalcy" and of Israeli takeover of the Seam Zone. Happy times to whoever plans on buying a "cottage" (360,000 shekels according to the poster ad) in the neighbourhood.

05:30 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint

The checkpoint gatesinfo-icon are still closed. "As usual" they open the vehicle checkpoint for us. Three cars are waiting to pass and are taken in immediately, and five loaded pick up trucks are already waiting in the parking lot. Inspection of the trucks and their cargo begins at 07:00.
05:35 – a hundred men and women, in two lines, jostling in front of the gate to the terminal entry sleeveinfo-icon from the Palestinian lot. The men are impatient, almost violent.
The gate opens and people enter in groups, men and women alternating. People repeat their requests that the checkpoint opens at 05:00.
05:45 – all have entered the sleeve, but some of the men are waiting at the entry from the sleeve into the terminal. More people arrive, straight into the sleeve. At this hour the first can be seen emerging in the direction of the parking lot on the Seam Zone side.
05:55 – we move to the upper parking lot in the Seam Zone. People tell us, on their way to transport, that inside the terminal there is crowding and chaos – "not good." One says that he was already there at 03:00 to be among the first. They repeat the request that the checkpoint be opened at 05:00, saying that earlier opening is more important than extending the open hours to midnight.

06:20 Aanin Checkpoint

On our way to the checkpoint we see cows gnawing away to their hearts content at olive branches, but to our surprise we don’t see people striding down the road to the checkpoint. Turns out that they opened late this morning, at 06:15, and the first are passing through as we arrive. The soldiers are registering names and ID numbers to check upon their return in the afternoon. We do not see it because the check is done at the lower gate, on the Aanin side, but the pace seems reasonable.
06:45 – transit is finished. The soldiers coming to lock the gate check the list, at our request, and say that 60 peop-le passed and one was turned back.

06:55 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint

The checkpoint is already open and people are beginning to pass from the West Bank to the Seam Zone.
07:15 – individual schoolchildren, relatively older, arrive at the checkpoint. Exams end today and tomorrow. The younger children already broke up from school yesterday. Summer holidays last three months.
A girl wearing a broad brimmed hat, with mask on face, passes accompanied by her mother. The child is having a transplant and a volunteer is waiting to take them to Hadassah in Jerusalem.

07:30 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint

Four tenders and four private cars being checked. Only three more tenders waiting at this hour. The workers in Bartaa begin to arrive, in cars and on foot, and are swallowed into the terminal. We miss the mobile snack bar – the owner has taken it for servicing in Jenin.
A moment of happiness at the checkpoint: a man shows us a picture of his babyinfo-icon – a forty day old boy, their first child after 18 years of marriage.
08:15 – we leave. Everything is as if "okay," except that nothing is okay, not the checkpoints, and not the fence, neither of which are on the Green Line frontier, but rather within the Palestinian territory.