Translation: Naomi gal
The checkpoint opens at 5.30 am and again at 3 pm. We are told that before we arrived a few dozen people have already crossed from the village of A’anin to the Seam Zone. We encounter new faces, young and smiling, who for the first time received permits to stay in the Seam Zone (for 12 hours only) in their own right. The checking is conducted at the far gates in the center of the checkpoint, hence it is hard to keep track, but it seems that people are not detained. One of the farmers tries to take across a few containers of fresh olive oil in his tractor, but the soldiers refuse to allow him, claiming that it is a "commercial quantity" that can only be transferred at the farther Reihan Checkpoint, and that he doesn’t have the required permits. Attempts to convince the DCO are in vain. Let us remember: transferring the oil containers is within the Palestinian area, but it is being blocked by the bearers of arms.
07:10 Shaked Checkpoint
The expansion here has no bounds, and the place gradually shapes up to look like an international terminal. Vive le petit difference!
At this time of day mainly teachers are crossing from the West Bank to the Seam Zone and only few cross to the West bank. We saw no students.
A charming puppy crosses the checkpoint from side to side, forbidden for us humans, unless we have a special permit.
One of the teachers tells us that sometimes the computer in the checking booth is disabled so the names of those crossing have to be hand-written. Then, as a result of disruptions and errors while updating the computer, some of the names are not recorded and when these people come back they are treated as if they never crossed in the first place.
07:45 Rihan Checkpoint
Clusters of people cross the checkpoint and are swallowed in the terminal, emerging after a few minutes on the other side in the Seam Zone. This monotonous routine, so matter of fact, as if everything is OK, is outrageous. The bored drivers are chatting among themselves. In the past they used to complain to us. They stopped, as if they have no more expectations.
6-8 vehicles with agricultural goods are waiting to be checked on their way to east of Barta'a.
The checkpoint is spotless. Hadi, the Palestinian laborer, makes sure it sparkles.
8:30 We left.
ranslation: Bracha B.A.
06:45 – A'anin Checkpoint
By 07:00 it appears that everyone who had arrived at the checkpoint has already crossed. A young man gallops across the checkpoint on a donkey and stops near us to make a phone call and to have his picture taken. It is time for the soldiers to lock the checkpoint, but they are in no hurry.
07:05 – Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
07:55 – Reihan Barta'a Checkpoint
Today we observed the checkpoint only from the seamline zone side. About ten women students and mothers with babies are going to the West Bank. They present documents and permits at the booth. They are followed by a car with a woman driver and passenger. They are told to open all the doors and the hood. The driver is extremely agitated, says: "I am a doctor!" and is in a hurry to get to work. Her car is meticulously checked by a female worker who is guarded, wearing protective clothing, and holding a flashlight. A small truck arrives with a young family and crosses without being checked. We descend the sleeve to the entrance to the terminal. N., a striking Druze man with a thin face and large mustache, is in the high guard position on the side of the hill. We usually meet him in the center of the checkpoint and ask him what he is doing there. He answers happily, "I'm floating in the clouds." He then conducts a conversation above us with R., the vice-manager of the checkpoint, about stone throwing. R. goes behind the sleeve and strikes up a friendly conversation with Mirele.
Both of them are kibbutzniks. A house wares salesman from Barta'a complained that he had been inside the terminal for half an hour. He feels they are working slowly. Others agree with him and explain that it is crowded, and complain that: "there are lots of people inside." Someone comes out and asks jokingly if there was a power failure because the gates were closed. At 08:50 the gates were open again.
14:50 – A'aneen
About 15 men and one woman are waiting to cross to the village.
Soldiers are already on site and they open slightly earlier (15:00). All go through within minutes. This is the olive picking season and the gate is open until 16:30, so there is no reason to hurry.
15:15- Shaked-Tura checkpoint
No one crosses into the Seam Line zone at this time. Three cars go through in the direction of the West Bank, Inspection is swift.
15:40 -Reihan-Barta'a, the side of the Seam Line zone -
To our surprise, there are relatively more workers returning home at this early hour, among then our friends, the seamstresses, who are returning from Barta'a to various villages at the West Bank.
At one point a line is formed, another window opens and the line vanishes immediately.
We came back to see if people do take advantage of the late closing of the gates. One tractor with three people on board, as well as an elderly person, crossed at this time.
Translation: Yael S.
12:15 A'aneen checkpoint
No one comes and no one goes.
After a while a tractor arrives; the farmer says that more people are coming. But by the time we left no one has arrived.
13:00 Shaked-Tura checkpoint
Children return home from school and teachers return from work to their village.
14:00 Reihan-Barta'a checkpoint
Here too there is forced idleness. There are more vehicles than passengers.
Drivers wait for those requiring transportation.
We are askedto bring clothes and household items. One person asks for a used TV set.
Translation: Devora K.
6:30 A'anin CP
We came here hoping to find the gates open and people going through to olive-picking or to visits to families on this holiday (Id el Adha) but to our astonishment, the gates were locked and there was complete quiet throughout. We called the DCO a few times in the course of the day, they answered courteously but kept telling us over and over again, to call later, when an officer would be able to answer our questions. We could not get any indication of whether the CP would be open today.
6:40 Shaked/ Tura CP
On the way to the CP we saw two women with baskets and tools. They were apparently on their way to picking olives. The CP is open, the soldiers are at their posts, but nobody is going through.
6:45 A herd of goats arrives with an old man who is their shepherd. We greet him, wishing him a happy holiday and he explains that the correct greeting is 'happy new year' (KulA'am wa -intum b'her)
A young boy on a bicycle, a son of the family that lives in the lonely house (stuck between the CP and the Shaked settlement) is turning on the road. He speaks Hebrew which he learned from the soldiers. He says that they will be going back to school on Thursday. He sent his regards to Noa who took care of getting electricity to their house.
A few workers arrive and are picked up by the car that was waiting for them.
7:10 We left.
7:20 Reihan/ Barta'a CP
A few of the CP gates are closed. They tell us that today the gates and the vehicle inspection pavilion open at 8:00.
Families with women and children arrive; there is a queue near the CP. The parking lot is almost empty nor are there any trucks with goods at the sides of the road..
A family carrying long sticks for picking olives crosses the parking lot but does not go through the terminal. Instead they continue in the parking lot toward the west and disappear on the other side of the shed.
8:00 The CP opens and people go through quickly in groups of ten, and afterwards in groups of five. From the other side as well people arrive and all of them crowd on one path. Sometimes it is inconvenient for women to be pushed among those who are waiting. It is not clear why the gate for those coming from the other side does not open.
8:15 All of them have gone through the terminal and up above it is possible to see the first of those emerging from the terminal in the direction of the seamline zone. We leave and pick up A., mother of the girl who is in the Rambam Hospital. She is going to take the place of the father who is taking care of their daughter. At home -- the children miss their father and Id el Adha was a very sad holiday for them.
Translation: Naomi Gal
The soldiers are already here, opening the checkpoint gates. About 20 people and three tractors are waiting to return to the village. They are returning earlier because it’s the eve of a Holiday – Eid el Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice). Some children return with their fathers - schools were closed today. We are told that in the morning around 80 people crossed and that tomorrow, Friday, the checkpoint will be closed for the Holiday. During the rest of the holiday the checkpoint will be open during the regular hours of the olive harvest season.
12:15 The waiting people have already crossed, two more tractors arrive. Open until 13:00.
12:25Shaked – Torre
Little traffic on both sides of the checkpoint.
13:00Reihan – Barta’a, on the Palestinian side
The Palestinian parking lot is filled to capacity; we park in the makeshift paid parking lot up the road. They even have a makeshift kiosk selling coffee, tea and cigarettes.
Shouts are heard from the main parking lot. Anticipating the holiday, many bring their cars, trying to earn a few pennies giving people rides, but most people own cars, the number of licensed taxis is increasing, and there is not enough work for all.
Workers are returning early from their jobs at Barta’a or the Shaked industrial zone; many are carrying gift baskets, trays of fruits and vegetables,Coke bottles and even flowers. A group of seamstresses are returning from work, they all carry new blankets nicely wrapped; holiday gifts.
14:00 At the entrance to the terminal, seam line zone side
Four young detainees are sitting on a bench at the entrance to the terminal. They want to go back home for the holiday (apparently they do not have permits to stay in Israel or in the seam line zone). They have been waiting for an hour already. After 15 more minutes they are summoned inside. We did not see if or when they crossed to the West Bank.
One can sense the holiday spirit since the workers are returning early. We wish them Happy Holiday and they reciprocate with greetings and smiles.
14:25 We go up the sleeve. Workers are on their way down. A family in holiday outfits is on its way to the terminal. One of the children is taking his sweet time, enjoying the playground slide next to the parking lot on the seam zone side.
Translation Dvora k.
14:55 A'anin CP
The soldiers are already there. About a dozen people are waiting. There is no need to hurry to get here. During the olive-picking season the gate is open until 16:30. That, of course, is still bad, but it does ease things to some extent. We are told that in the morning about 60 people went through and some more went through at noon. This also eases things somewhat. One man, a resident of A'anin, has no permit. It seems that he has a work permit and can go through the Shaked-Tura and the Reihan-Barta'a CPs. But he cannot go through in A'anin. He would prefer to go through A'anin during the olive-picking season where the CP is open every day, to save time and costs of travel. It is forbidden. He has to travel by two taxis, from Tura to Jenin and from Jenin to A'anin. We drove him to the Shaked-Tura CP.
15:40 Shaked-Tura CPThere is very little traffic in both directions. Our passenger tells us that five residents of A'anin who have work permits, have a problem like his.
16:10 Reihan- Barta'a CP
On the side of the seamline zone, workers are going down the sleeve on their way to their homes on the West Bank. A few families, in holiday dress, emerge from the sleeve on their way to East Barta' in the seamline zone. Two posts are working in the terminal. Sometimes the passage is delayed a bit, when in one of the posts they inspect those entering the seamline zone. One person tells us: "A one-sided retreat is a good thing -- but to the border." Four detainees are sitting on the bench in the terminal. They went through some road without a permit, in order to earn some money, and now they want to go home.
17:00 We leave.
Workers arrive. Three little children are playing in the area near the vehicle CP, the one with the slide, while their father's car is being inspected. Two people stop us near the parking lot. One of them has work in Israel, but he has no agricultural permit. The second is detained by the police. We give them telephone numbers where they may get some help.
Translation Dvora k.
The olive-picking season provided an opportunity to do our observation at sunrise, always wonderful in A'anin. The gates are open, those who have permits are going through one by one. We entered and went to the inner gate where the inspection is done without anyone stopping us. At the time of opening, a man, H., from the DCO was also there, and we had a friendly conversation, despite differences of opinion. In his assessment, about a hundred people were waiting to go out. H. knew that after the Holiday of the Sacrifice ('Id el Adha?) at the end of next week, olive-picking will be at the peak and the number of people with permits will grow a great deal. He says that the permit policy is not at all strict, but the army does not interfere in the affairs of the GSS or the police.
Like us, the man from the DCO hurried to get to the opening of the CP which, normally, not during the olive-picking season, opens only at 7:00.
Traffic leaving for the seamline zone is thin and flowing. It is expected to increase later when school children and university students; the banker and the teacher and all the regular clients will be going through. A herd of goats goes through now. We still wonder what happens this year to the little school children who used to arrive with the driver Y., and how and where do the Bedoui children go. At 6:40 we left for Barta'a and Ya'abed.
6:50 Reihan / Barta'a
We passed the Barta'a CP and on the road we counted nine loaded trucks waiting for inspection. Apart from that we had the impression that the lower parking lot still is not full and traffic leaving for the seamline zone was flowing easily.
7:00 Mavo-Dothan / Ya'abed
The CP is being re-organized and on both sides there are long queues. Two soldiers leave what they are doing in order 'to banish' us. They ask us to move our car which, they say, is parked 'exactly in the way'. They claim that their role is to make sure that the children's bus which comes down at this time from Mevo Dothan will not be hit by stones. The bus passed and we stayed put as did the cars which, for some reason, are inspected this morning on the way to Jenin. When we felt that the inspection was unnecessary, and was being done to make an impression on us, we left.
7:30 We passed the Barta'a CP again. Now eleven trucks were waiting on the road; the lower parking lot was full, but traffic was flowing. We left.
Translation: Yael S.
06:20-06:55- Anin checkpoint
Passage is slow and nerve racking
07:05 – 07:45 Shaked-Tura checkpoint
Nava who's been away for a few months, is impressed by the development and the renovations.
Children arrive - happy and well attired – going to school. They cross quickly. Teachers say that they are well disciplined. There are breaks for going wild.
08:00- 09:00 Reihan-Barta'a checkpoint
The lower (Palestinian) car park is full. Drivers complain of lack of livelihood, they all have big families and they ask for help in clothing etc. One asks for a TV set for his second wife.
A young fellow has been hurt running away from a soldier and bumping into a car's front window. He was treated at a hospital emergency room and is in need for rehabilitation treatment, which is costly. Another wants to visit Israel - he misses the sea. His brother is serving time in jail so it seems he'll continue to long for the sea.
People come out of the terminal really quick, putting on their belts as they hurry to work, and wishing us a good day.
05:50 Anin Checkpoint
The soldiers have already opened the checkpoint’s gates. They are checking the people who are passing from the village to the seam zone at the lower gate, closer to the village, farther away from us. We are told that close to 100 people are waiting there.
We are told as well that two youngsters with valid permits were not allowed to pass. We called the DCO and they said the youngsters should call themselves. We passed the request on, but we don’t know if eventually they were allowed to pass. One of the young men says that his father, 65 years old, the owner of the land, has no permit to go to his land in the seam zone. Another one says that in view of the olive harvest the “whole village” got permits. During olive harvest the checkpoint will be open every day (half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon) and not just twice a week. They haven’t yet announced the date of the harvest.
At other times, harvest season is an ongoing family happening: men and women, old people, youngsters and kids join the harvest, sometimes staying overnight in the field, cooking and eating outside. The Occupation rules have stopped this tradition.
Two Bedouin come up from their encampment at the foot of the checkpoint. We ask about the children - that haven’t been seen lately, how do they get to school? We are told the kids take another route and arrive on foot at the school which is in Um Reihen. It takes them about an hour to an hour and a half. Their parents have no money for transportation. What will happen in the winter, with the rain and mud?
07:05 not everyone has passed yet.
07:15 Shaked – Turah Checkpoint
The construction work at the checkpoint is done and the various awnings are all in place. Lights and barrier handles are already functioning. Construction materials are still lying around, so the last brick hasn’t been laid yet. To be continued. The investment in improving and beautifying this small checkpoint is highly exaggerated. A lot of money was wasted here.
Activists are arguing loudly in the waiting shed. A soldier approaches with a drawn weapon. He spits on the road.
Many people huddle in front of the inspection booth, waiting to pass into the seam zone.
08:00 Everyone has passed.
A colorful Chabbad vehicle passes by, harnessed to a cart with a portable Sukkah from which loud music streams. One of the Palestinians thinks we are enjoying the celebration, and is angry with us, saying it does not fit our tag (on which, among other things, is says "No to checkpoints ... Women for Human Rights ...") we really DID NOT enjoy it. The Chabbad are granting the soldiers mitzvoth. Two of them approach us and offer us to say a blessing, never understanding why we refuse.
08:20 Reihan – Barta’a
The Palestinian parking lot is filled to capacity with private vehicles of Palestinians who come here from across the West Bank and particularly from the north, to work in the eastern part of Barta’a, located in the seam zone beyond the checkpoint and the separation wall. We park on the road. More people arrive in taxis and vanish into the terminal. The kiosk in the shed prospers; the young owner has already purchased an old car. In the front he wrote in Hebrew, There's no one like Mom, and on the back side is his name.He again told us that he has to provide for his mother, father and five younger siblings after his father, a taxi driver, was badly hurt in a car accident. Sad.
08:45 We are leaving. Six loaded trucks and four private cars are waiting on the main road.
The Security guard in the booth requests that in the future we avoid parking on the road. She is right.