Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
A’anin, Shaked, Reihan, Thursday, 5.4.12, morning
`Anin Checkpoint is located on the separation fence, east of Mei Ami, between the village of `Anin in the West Bank and Um el-Fahm in Israel. Those who pass and return here are residents of `Anin, mostly to cultivate their lands which have been cut off from the village by the separation fence. The checkpoint opens two days a week, morning and afternoon, and daily during the olive harvest season. People go out from the village in the morning and must return the same afternoon. Anyone who does not return that same day has his permits confiscated, and until he gets the situation corrected he is prohibited from transit.
Translator: Charles K.
06:10 A’anin checkpoint
The gates are open, people come through, a pink dawn breaks and then the sun appears.
A resident of A’anin complains he’s been removed from the list of farmers permitted to cross at the distant Shaked checkpoint which he’d used daily to reach his fields (cf. reports from 29.12.11, 19.1.12). His 82 year old father received the permit instead, though he no longer works. After all – why not be a wise guy if you can, and make life harder for them?
The ten children from the Bedouin family living below the checkpoint come up to wait for transportation to school in Umm Reihan.
06:50 Shaked-Tura checkpoint
We arrived early, as did pupils and one car. The soldiers come walking after us and open the checkpoint at 07:00 exactly. About 30 people wait at the revolving gate to enter the inspection room before crossing from the West Bank to the seam zone. The process is slow. The pupils cross quickly. A few cars cross in both directions. A horse, a donkey and their owners wait to cross to the seam zone. A resident of Tura says he’s employed building new homes in the Reihan settlement in the seam zone.
07:40 Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint
A sign in front of the checkpoint advertises new homes for sale in the Hermesh settlement. It seems the settlements on both sides of the separation barrier continue to expand. Taxis wait for passengers and laborers wait for rides on the seam zone side. A pickup truck laden with household goods waits to cross to the West Bank. Another, laden with vegetables, and a few cars wait to cross to the seam zone.
The Palestinian parking lot isn’t full yet at this hour. Small groups of people arrive from the West Bank and are swallowed up in the terminal. The owner of the “kiosk” also arrives and arranges his wares on a table under the canopy next to the checkpoint.
As we walked down the fenced corridor to the terminal we caught our breath at the landscape painted on the concrete wall dividing the Palestinian parking lot from that for checkpoint staff. Blue skies, trees, flowers and birds were added. One of the people crossing who isn’t cynical like us (we are annoyed and outraged by the extravagant attempts to decorate the checkpoint) says, “I like looking at it.”
Two windows are open in the terminal, one in each direction. Few people cross at this hour.
08:10 We leave the best-groomed checkpoint in the entire מרחב השמי Semitic region? Hashemite region?