Translator: Charles K.
1. Shaked checkpoint (one of the small checkpoints) is filled with fences, sheds, emplacements, signs, traffic lights, gates, huts, barbed wire and – a pedestrian crossing. From where to where? For whom?
2. Reihan checkpoint – a view from afar:
the nearer parking lot charges a fee, the farther one is located within the area of the checkpoint. All the vehicles are new, ATV’s, family cars, luxury cars. We hardly see junky Subarus any more.
3. Reihan checkpoint, the upper entrance to the terminal: A tight knot of people waiting.
4. The congestion dissipates. Note the small coolers instead of plastic bags.
15:00 A’anin checkpoint
Three tractors and a few pedestrians returning to the village of A’anin after a day working or hanging around in the seam zone. The soldier says to one of them, “Come on bro’, come on.”
A Tura resident is employed as a cleaner at this and other seam zone checkpoints, as far as the central West Bank. He’s blacklisted from entering Israel (apparently
15:40 Shaked/Tura checkpoint (300)
Another hallucinatory checkpoint which is being upgraded, not necessarily for security reasons. Whoever wants to learn the hypocrisy of the enlightened occupation is invited to visit the northern checkpoints which have been groomed ad-nauseum. A lot of money has been spilled here to create the appearance of virtue. Here are some guys from Wadi ‘Ara completing the installation of a curved plastic roof over the fenced corridor. It will provide shade only when the sun is at its zenith, and stop only the rain falling vertically – but let’s not minimize it; a roof is a considerate gesture that tweaks the occupation’s cheeks, letting it blush modestly at its own humaneness. Not to mention the money the Ministry of Defense pours into the pockets of the contractors building fences, stanchions, plastic installations and the rest of the checkpoint apparatus.
16:10 Dothan-Yabed checkpoint
On our way to the checkpoint we saw that the road to one of the access roads to Yabed which obviates taking a long detour to reach the town is closed and locked by an iron bar. A military vehicle is parked nearby – a kashrut supervisor.
Heavy traffic at the checkpoint itself, flowing in both directions. A pair of soldiers approaches to say hello. “Everything ok? Did you get stuck here?” Yes - for 45 years.
16:35 – 17:00 Reihan checkpoint
Congestion and some confusion at the entrance to the terminal from the seam zone.
An emotional meeting between Neta and the seamstresses. “We haven’t seen you for a long time,” one of them says. My sister.
A few detainees seated on a bench inside the terminal.
A guard directs those waiting: “Those with Israeli permits to the right, those with Barta’a permits to the left.” Their brother.
Within fifteen minutes the congestion eases and the line disappears.
Translation Yael S.
06:05 A'aneen, Agriculture checkpoint
About 50 people and some tractors wait at the center of the checkpoint. A soldier makes sure that all is in order and that no one dares crossing on their own.
Pace of inspection: A man walks to the inspection post about 100 meters away (20 seconds) presents his papers to a female soldier and steps back. The soldier looks at the card, writes something , makes remarks ("Get back here today at 3:00, to you hear me? I'll remember you") She inspects the content of the bags (at least 60 seconds) and lets go. Only then the next person approaches. If someone dares coming closer before he was ordered to do so, the shouting start s:"Hey, hello, back off", "Back, back, back." The male soldier pushes back the one who has barged in. At such an event, inspection comes to a halt and the female inspector ensures that it would be done according to her orders.
The following are some quotations from the process:- "Tell him to get up….up", "Hello!, walk back, hello, hello"; "Wait a minute! Stop!!"; "Get back in line, we'll call you". When we point out to the soldiers that passage pace is slow, another female soldiers tells us, "patience" .
We find such conduct to be arrogant towards the true owners of the land, who need permits for every step on their own land.
06:1530 more people wait, and such is the picture at 06:45 and the line is endless. The Palestinian Authority has switched off daylight saving time last Friday.
The Beduin children did not show up for their transportation to school. Why?
07:05 Tura-Shaked checkpoint
Here too the complaints regarding the slow passage are repeated. The entire space of the checkpoint (which is not large) is filled up and about to burst. There is a security tower, a cabin for inspecting pedestrians, an area for vehicles' inspection, a sleeve, street lights, trafic signs, wire fences, metal everywhere.
How much does it cost us? aAd why?
07:30Lively traffic of people crossing on both sides. School children and students cross in the direction of the West Bank. Workers go from the West Bank into the Seam Line zone.
07:45 Reihan-Barta'a checkpoint
Six pickup trucks wait for inspection on the West Bank road. The car park is filled up with private cars, and taxis continue to come one after another unloading workers who cross to Barta'a. Passage time is as usual, without delays.
08:10 – Two more pickup trucks were added to the line of vehicles awaiting inspection
06.05 A'anin CP
The gates of the CP are already open. People are going through. A few have plastic bags in their hands with changes of clothes. Those with bags are allowed to go through only after they have left them behind. Why? Because the clothes for changing are proof that "the owners of the clothes intend to stay in Israel!" That is what the DCO representative, Wahl, tells us. He says that every landowner has the right to go through to his land, even if there is no field work right now. He adds that olive-picking will begin on the 15/10. Five young men are not allowed to go through. We do not know why. We could not ask Wahl.
It is hard to see what is happening in the CP because so much construction work is going on. There is very little traffic, either vehicles or pedestrians, in both directions. The teacher arrives in his battered car and advances to the CP gate. He is required to go back and to wait on the other side of the ridiculous pedestrian crossing. After a second he is called to enter the area of the CP. Unluckily for him his car stops (usually they have to push him to get the car going again). A new luxury car, on the other hand, is allowed to wait near the gate.
07.30 The school children arrive on foot from Daher el-Malek in the seamline zone, bright and happy. They go through to Tura on the West Bankquickly and without having any inspection. The school teachers in Umm–a-Reihan arrive from the West Bank. Their ride is waiting for them. The principal also arrives and they drive off.
07.55 Reihan-Barta'a, Palestinian Side
The parking lot is already full. Workers in Barta'a arrive from all areas of the West Bank. They are swallowed up in the terminal in vehicles and on foot. There are practically no people going through in the other direction. At this hour, in the hut between the gate and the building, there sits a courteous security guard-inspector, who says thank you in Hebrew to everybody whose bag he asks to see.
A taxi driver tells us how difficult it is to earn a livelihood because of the rise in the price of fuel. He says that the average salary in the West Bank is NIS 2000, and he knows that in Israel, the minimum salary is NIS 4000. He says that the prices on the West Bank are high and there are many expenses at the start of the school year.
08.30 We leave. Many taxis are waiting for passengers from East Barta'a on the side of the seamline zone.
Translation: Naomi Gal
Customs at a checkpoint(?)
Soldiers are already busy opening the checkpoint on time (13:00). About two dozens people and half a dozen tractors are waiting to enter the barrier and go home to their village of Anin.
One tractor driver is not allowed to carry across two used plastic chairs, and has to leave them outside the checkpoint, next to the shed. This is merely the preview. Another tractor driver arrives, there are a few chairs (used ones as well) in his tractor’s trailer, an old stove and some old curtains androds. The soldiers immediately forbid him to cross over with the chairs and stove and he has to abandon them in the shed. He tries passing the curtains, but those, too, are forbidden. He returns to the shed to leave the curtains.
We asked the commander, a second lieutenant, what's wrong with taking chairs and used curtains to `Anin. The answer: they are not agricultural goods: it’s not olives, not olive oil nor almonds. Transferring merchandise that’s not agriculture requires special coordination at Reihan checkpoint. The officer asked us if we visited lately an airport, and if we were aware that you have to pay duty when transferring goods from one country to another. Here, he stresses, we are moving goods from “blue zone” ("ours", Israeli) to “red zone” ("enemy"). We were puzzled and asked if he was aware of the fact that both the red AND the blue are Palestinian zones, which means moving goods from Palestine to Palestine. No, he said he was not aware. According to him the blue zone is Israel. An officer!
There is hardly any traffic at this time.
16:10 Riehan-Barta`a, the Palestinian side
The parking lot is crowded. A few taxis are on their way to the West Bank.
16:30 Rihan-Barta`a, the seam zoon side
A new drinking fountain has been installed in the small playground.
Many workers go down the metal sleeve to the terminal. Two windows are active and manage the flow of people and there are no lines on the way home, to the West Bank. There are no delays even when some people pass to the other side.
Someone complains about the difficulties of crossing over in the morning at Irtach checkpoint (entering into Israel) in the center of the west bank. He says that every day he and many others have to go through a second inspection in the inner rooms.
17:05 Getting back to the upper parking lot we met a delegation of German youngsters and their Israeli guide. As part of their tour in Israel and the occupied territories they are visiting this checkpoint and would visit another one in Jerusalem (Qalandia?). They said that in Jerusalem they would meet a representative of Machsom-Watch.
06:15 – Aaneen
The checkpoint opens at 6 am and traffic streams along.
Soldiers inspect those who cross below, between the main checkpoint and the lower one, where we are unable to see anything.
Most of those crossing are youngsters.
Food bags which the soldiers view as commercial quantities are not allowed through and their owners have to decide whether to leave them behind or not to cross.
Toward seven o'clock Bedouin children get on the passengers' vehicles and so do the rest of the workers.
The DCO vehicle is nowhere to be seen.
07:10 – 07:30 Tura (Shaked) checkpoint
A few scores of people walk through, including teachers, clerks and pupils. The latter ones walk towards the inspector with their school bags wide open and the soldier inspects them. Drivers leave their vehicles and walk to the cabin, return to the vehicle and drive it to another inspection before they can continue on their way.
A few minutes after our arrival the DCO vehicle arrived as well.
07:40 – Barta'a (Reihan) checkpoint
At this time many of the Bata'as merchants, as well as workers from the Shahak industrial zone, arrive in taxis and other vehicles.
The Kiosk, run by the smiling Hady, serves morning coffee to drivers who wait for passengers and for a better future.
The praying corner is marked by a rope; there is a carpet on the floor and prayer books on the banister.
Cars going into the West Bank wait, the driver are outside. Trucks are being inspected.
08:30 – We left.
Naomi G. translation
Anin 6:10-6:45 AM
On our way to the checkpoint Shafiq Abu Jihad stops us, says “Here” and gives us a package of almonds
from his trees.
A large crowd is waiting at the checkpoint. Many new permits stand there and the soldiers try to control the chaos created by their owners, who haven’t yet understood the procedures of checkpoints and occupation and want to pass to the other side as fast as possible and NOW! In an attempt to control the impatiens, a soldier collects their ID’s and permits and calls them one by one in his own sweet time. The usual shift of 30 minutes is not enough this morning, the crossing to the other side creeps to an hour. Toward the end of our watch the soldiers have to summon four at once.
Our friend Mahmud tells us that last Monday afternoon, while crossing the checkpoint back to the village, they were all allowed to pass at once, no checking.
Checkpoint Shaked 7; 05-7:20AM
Passing from one side to the other is slow, but still runs smoothly: cars and pedestrians pass in few
Dotan Checkpoint 7:35-8:05AM
A military vehicle stands in the middle of the checkpoint, no soldiers in sight, they are busy
maneuvering. Later on, passing from one side to the other proceeds in unexplainable intervals, and creates a line of waiting cars on both sides of the checkpoint.
Reihan Checkpoint 8:15AM
It seems as if crossing the checkpoint works seamlessly. Cars with agriculture merchandise are waiting on the road and in the parking lot on the Palestinian side. Taxis await clients at the upper parking lot.
It took more time to wiggle out of the crowded Palestinian parking lot than it did to turn around and see what’s going on.
Everywhere we go Palestinians accept us as part of the landscape of checkpoints, occupation, the reality imposed upon them. They smile politely, but after so many years I still can’t athom what exactly is our role in this play?
Translation: Bracha B.A.
06:10 – A'anin Agricultural Checkpoint
About 50 people – mostly young – are waiting inside the checkpoint by the middle gate. Many have received permits for the first time, for the next three to six months. Recently more than 100 permits have been issued.
Two soldiers are standing facing groups of ten or more people – this time without loaded and cocked weapons, as we have been accustomed to seeing. The crew is new, working slowly. Wahel, a representative of the Liaison and Coordination Administration, is present. The registration is done in a routine manner using the computer.
During our observation several young people were sent back to the village because their permits had expired. They claimed that they had applied for new permits early, but the paperwork had not yet been completed and they had attempted to cross anyway, without success. The question is, why can't permits be renewed before they expire? For the workers, who never know whether their permits will be reissued, this is a tiring and tense time, since they cannot plan their lives or livelihood until they know whether they will receive a new permit.
At 07:00 there were only a few people waiting, and we left.
07:16 – Shaked – Tura Checkpoint
A soldier is attempting to break the lock to the gate of the pedestrian sleeve, unsuccessfully. Apparently the lock has been out of order for several days, because people who are headed for the West Bankare going straight to the center of the checkpoint without being stopped. About 20 people are waiting to enter the seamline zone and several cars are waiting to enter the West Bank. The checks in the inspection booth are routine. School will begin again on September 2nd, and meanwhile there are few children going to the West Bank. They ignore us when we ask where they are going, but we later learn that they are going to sit for their examinations again because they did not pass the first time.
07:40– Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint
Seven cars are waiting to cross to the West Bank. The first is a yellow car with many passengers. They wait with their children to be checked before they can cross. We walk forward and are greeted by the security guards with "good morning" as they move the yellow gate. We were surprised to find a lot of people waiting to enter the terminal from the lower parking lot, which was unusual for this hour of the day. They nevertheless entered quickly and only had to wait when the terminal became full. A civilian car which waited to cross the checkpoint was forced to wait until the last of the workers entered the terminal, and the driver began honking impatiently for the inspector in the booth to open the gate. Men exiting the terminal are attempting to refasten their belts while they walk. They report that everything is going as usual, and that luckily the holidays are over and things can return to normal again.
We left at 08:45.
Translation: Bracha B.A.
05:55 – A'anin Checkpoint
The soldiers are already present and the three gates at the center of the checkpoint are already open and the crossing begins. A tractor is sent back and not allowed to pass because the driver holds a permit to cross at another checkpoint (Shaked Tura).
A young man complains that he was the only man in his family who received a permit to stay in the seam line zone. His father and seven brothers did not receive new or renewed permits.
06:30 – Crossing is proceeding slowly. People are moving towards the area between the two gates inside the checkpoint and a soldier is shouting on them to move back. Two young men are being detained and a soldier makes them sit far apart from each other. When we ask what is going on a sergeant answers that they (the soldiers) are not permitted to talk to us about it.
A man tells us that his 15-year-old son has not been allowed to cross. The man has an agricultural permit, so we call the Liaison and Coordination Administration to find out why. Meanwhile a soldier tells one of the detainees to go home. He refuses. Someone says that the soldiers have called the police to deal with the other detainee. We saw a few young people return to A'anin without even attempting to cross.
At 07:20 the gates are locked. The soldiers and the two detainees are still inside together with the fifteen-year-old boy, who is still inside the fence. No answer has been received from the Liaison and Coordination Administration.
A military jeep arrives with a commander who speaks Arabic. Meanwhile two elderly women arrive from the seamline zone. One of them is the mother of the detainee who was permitted to return home, and is a diabetic. The officer explains to her that her son was not permitted to cross because his permit has expired, and she convinces her son to return home. The officer explains that the police have been called to deal with the second detainee because he attempted to cross while using his brother's documents. At last the 15-year-old was permitted to cross. "Luckily" for him the soldiers had to wait for the police, but we didn't stay.
07:45 – Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
There are lots of road signs within the checkpoint area but no traffic.
08:15 – Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint
People arrive in small groups and enter the terminal. The refreshment stallis back, and we hope that it will provide an income for its owners, a young man whom his father was injured in a traffic accident, and since then he became the only family provider.
The parking lot is not full; only two commercial trucks are waiting to be checked.
08:25 – Mevo Dotan – Yaabed Checkpoint
Cars are waiting on both sides of the checkpoint. The soldiers are busy stretching a wire across the road in the middle of the barrier. After a few minutes cars are permitted to cross in the direction of Jenin without being checked. Colored cars - a red car and two green cars going in the other direction are checked. The soldiers begin to stretch the wire again with spikes attached. A line forms on both sides of the checkpoint. The soldiers then pull the spikes to one side and permit cars to pass. This time they decide to check a white truck…
At 08:45 line disappears, occupation remains.
Translator: Charles Kamen
06:10-06:40 A’anin checkpoint
A chilly Palestinian morning greets us. Younger men have now joined the veterans coming through, crossing happily for the first time with their own permits. A bitter joy, an achievement testifying to the great injustice occurring here. Everyone greets us in friendship. MP’s with a hand scanning wand check the men going through. One says – aren’t they ashamed? What, am I going [to bomb] Tel Aviv? A young man complains emotionally that his elderly father didn’t receive a new crossing permit. He points to those waiting: They receive theirs, my father doesn’t? But he leaves without waiting for us to take down the information. Another resident of A’anin, who had gone to visit relatives in Umm Reihan, after a liver or kidney transplant in Egypt, says – why do they close at 06:30? I want them to stay open until 07:00! But he also realizes he’s only letting off steam; it won’t help.
The sun rises behind me. The clouds are lovely, as usual, but it’s hard to really get excited
when everything here is depressing, again and again, year after year.
06:50 – 7:35 Shaked/Tura checkpoint
The soldiers trail slowly up the road to the checkpoint. The checkpoint itself is closed and locked. Goats wait on our side, large, fat male sheep on the Tura side (it appears to be their last day on earth). Silence, not a baa or a mehh. Once people begin crossing the operation proceeds slowly and
07:30 Reihan checkpoint.
We passed without entering; the line of commercial vehicles wait to go through and have their merchandise inspected, passenger vans wait for customers, people behave as they do during Ramadan – wearily. Everything goes like clockwork, like a Swiss watch or a time bomb.
We entered Ya’abed. It’s too early for this (still) sleepy town, another large rural commercial center between Barta’a and Jenin. A colorful structure whose construction has apparently been suspended caught our eyes. In the center of town we met an affable woman and her daughter. We gave them a ride home, gave them toys, games and some clothing.
08:15-08:30 Dothan/Ya’abed checkpoint
The checkpoint is manned, the soldiers either allow or prohibit vehicles to cross and we’re unable to understand how they decide to operate so lazily. There are always cars waiting, but briefly. Two soldiers approached to ask politely whether “we need anything.” No, thanks.
Ramadan ends in two or three days, the holiday will be over and people will be less distracted, more awake in the morning.
08:35 Reihan checkpoint
Still there, frozen, motionless, unchanged.
Regards from Walid, black as coal from head to foot, attempting to maintain a façade of “everything’s ok,” but we know it isn’t…
Another Ramadan has ended. But not the occupation.
Translation: Bracha B.A.
06:05 – A'anin Agricultural Checkpoint
Dozens of people are standing next to the gate in the center of the checkpoint. They pass by the soldiers one by one and cross without any delay. People are pleased because lately new permits have been issued for periods of three to six months, until the end of the olive harvest (which will start in three months). Many of the people passing through are young men who are pleased to have received permits of their own for the first time in their lives.
A resident of A'anin in the West Bank is married to a woman who lives in eastern Barta'a, which is in the seam zone and the couple has three children. He wishes to join and live with her. He has not been permitted to do so. He has been requesting permission to live in Barta'a for several years and has been refused. Ironically both A'anin and Barta'a are Palestinian towns and any Jewish person wishing to live in the occupied territories can come as he or she pleases and is even enticed to do so.
Shaked-Tura Checkpoint – 07:00
Here, too, people are happy with their meager lot of receiving permits. They wave them proudly – now they are permitted to move from one place to another within their own country. Is the same mind that planned all the stoplights and road signs at the checkpoint responsible for our security as well?
Several vans are waiting on the road. Cartons of eggs are practically cooking in the intense heat underneath the shed. People are crossing quickly from the West Bank to the seamline zone and back again. Yellow taxis leave for Jenin and other cars ply their way to the bridge and back for a 1-shekel fee. Even this is a meager livelihood. At this time there is no crowd net to the iron gate, but cars arrive constantly with groups of people and workers going to |Barta'a. Families are also traveling because it is Ramadan. Two elderly people on crutches are waiting near the vehicle checkpoint on the road waiting for someone to drive them to the top of the checkpoint. They are exempt from going through the terminal because of their disability – a sign that there is some light at the end of the dark tunnel of the occupation.
We left at 08:10.