7:25am We were on road 55 leading to Alfei Menasheh and took a right turn to Ras Atya. Ahead of us was a children’s school-bus making its way to school. We followed them, along the wall and the barbed-wire fences that surround Alfei Menasheh (what does a child make of all this? Are they used to it?)
7:30am At Ras Atya checkpoint, one bus is already waiting, the bus we were following stops behind it. Two soldiers (actually, a soldier and a female military police officer) go on the bus, inspect each seat. I see them through the bus windows, the children are peeping out (top photo). It will take some ten minutes until the buses are allowed to go on. The school-teachers cross the checkpoint by foot.
This scene is surprisingly banal: a father takes his son out of the car, the son crosses the checkpoint by foot, I see a schoolbag dangling between the barbed-wire fences (middle photo, also note the soldiers and workers, who passed the checkpoint, crossing in the other direction). The father is also following him with his eyes, and when the son has crossed the checkpoint, the father does a u-turn. Shortly after, another father arrives, two siblings dismount the car. The older sister lends a hand to her younger brother, she is standing right beside me and I see her taking a deep breath, concentrating, and they cross the checkpoint (bottom photo). A few minutes later I hear hollers from the schoolyard. Another school day begins.
April 12, 2010.