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?
A'anin CP: on the way to document inspection
Shaked CP: metal partition between what is theirs – and what is theirss
06.15 A'anin agricultural CP
People are standing in the middle of the CP; a soldier is supervising them. One by one they reach the inspection post; they must not advance a moment before they are summoned. That is the way it is in the entire inspection pavilion, near the soldiers in the middle of the CP – the area is completely 'sterile' of Palestinians, except the person who, at a secure distance, is presenting his documents for inspection and then goes on.
We are told that new permits are now being issued, and people are pleased. Those whose family members have not received new permits are disappointed.
Inspection is relatively quick. By 06.40, all the people have gone through and the gates of the CP are closed. All together a few dozen have gone through. There were no superfluous delays and everything flows, as usual, in the special rhythm of the occupation.
All around there are flowers in bloom, an illusion of calm; the Bedouin children invite us to their homes on a Friday or a Saturday when they are not in school.
07.00 Tura: The 'Fabric of Life' CP
The purpose: to ensure the quality of life of the residents on both sides of the barbed wire. There is talk about sensitivity to the feelings of 'the other side'. This is called preserving the 'fabric of life'. How touching!!
In the meantime, they are again inspecting people according to the system of "one at a time", as in A'anin. This is apparently according to new instructions because of the fact that the inspection hut is not in operation and 30 people crowding into the CP constitute a threat. They approach the soldier one by one and the second person does not begin to walk towards him until the first one is done.
We are told that for a week now nobody has gone through in Beithan and still the country is not in an uproar.
All together only a few dozen people went through to the seamline zone, mostly workers, teachers and school children. There are no delays in the direction of the West Bank; everything flows, as usual, in the special rhythm of the occupation.
07.45 New Barta'a CP
People are coming in waves in yellow taxis or in private cars, and entering the terminal for inspection. In a minute they can be seen in the upper sleeve leaving the terminal. On the road and in the parking lot more pickup trucks are waiting than usual, or so it seems. People that we meet leaving the terminal are happily on their way to another work day.
Opposite the parking lot for the CP workers, a young man is painting a blue sky and trees on a stone wall. It is really inspiring. There are no delays. Everything flows, as usual, in the special rhythm of the occupation.
08.20 We left.
06.17 A'anin Agricultural CP
Vahel, from the DCO, who is in charge of permits, gave us his telephone number again if we need it for any reason.
About 15 people have gone through so far. Soldiers are waiting for others who do not arrive, and in the end they close the CP at about 06.30.
06.45 the New Barta'a CP (Reihan)
There is activity in the CP. People coming from the West Bank enter the terminal and leave for work in the seamline zone.
A vehicle on its way to the West Bank halts on the road where there are two routes: green for Israelis and red (dangerous) for Palestinians. A Palestinian driver halts in front of the hut, puts his ID down on the electronic shelf. The data appear on the computer inside the hut. If "everything is all right", the lever that bars the way is raised and the vehicle goes through. The entire action takes only a few minutes, but still it raises one's hackles because of what it signifies, especially in view of how fast the vehicles shoot past on the green route, driving freely into the occupied area, while the actual owners are required to identify themselves. All of this Is well-known and banal, but it is important to cite it again because it is so routine and calm on the surface.
We go down the sleeve to the opening of the terminal (on the side of the seamline zone): people emerge quickly. There are no complaints and no claims. Another work day begins.
07.25 The first pickup trucks leave the pavilion for inspecting goods. Others are approaching, first to the post for identifying documents and then to the inspection of the cargo.
08.00 Tura (Shaked) CP
The CP is empty. All the workers have already gone through; so have the school children. We wait for about a quarter of an hour. Only a few people go through. The quiet is intoxicating and misleading. It seems that this is not an appropriate time to observe in this CP and leave.
Translator: Charles K.
15:00 A’anin checkpoint
The checkpoint gates are open. Several people and four tractors begin crossing. One tractor driver approaches us; he has a problem. He wants to bring through an old rug he spreads on the ground of the grove. It got muddy; he wants to take it home and rinse it off. The soldiers won’t let him bring it through because it’s only an agricultural checkpoint. We telephone Wahel, from the DCO, who convinces the soldiers to let the rug through.
Another tractor driver wants to bring in four containers of used oil he obtained in Umm Reihan. Forbidden. We call Wahel again, thank him for his help regarding the rug and ask him to help with the oil. This time he refuses. There’s no way to inspect the containers at the A’anin checkpoint. He suggests arranging a one-time permit for the driver to go through the (distant) Shaked checkpoint this coming Monday, where he’ll be able to bring in the oil. The tractor driver doesn’t agree. He says he’ll wait on the bench in the shed next to the checkpoint until Monday. He prepares for a long wait in the cold, and puts on an additional pair of pants.15:40 Meanwhile, the soldiers are dealing with someone who’s been detained, we don’t know for what reason. They release him, telling him to go to the Salem DCO on Monday.
The soldiers telephone Wahel, from the DCO. They don’t know what to do about the stubborn tractor driver. Wahel speaks to him, manages to convince him to return home today without the oil. He drives off to conceal the oil at a distant, hidden location until Monday, when he’ll be able to bring it through at Shaked. An officer, a soldier, a female MP and another female soldier wait.
16:00 The tractor driver returns to the checkpoint and crosses without the oil. The soldiers lock the gates. We regret having neither the skill nor the ability to adequately describe this absurd spectacle.
16:10 Shaked-Tura checkpoint
A relatively large amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Four soldiers walk along the fence and turn toward Tura; we don’t know why. A truck coming from the West Bank isn’t allowed through. Three girls and a woman with a toddler wait in the shed for a car, being inspected at the checkpoint, which will bring them to Umm Reihan. In the meantime, one of them offers jellybeans to us and to the toddler.
16:40 Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint, seam zone side
We’re surprised no one is waiting at the entrance to the terminal. An infant’s cries can be heard from within. We didn’t see the infant and mother emerging. A young woman sat on the terminal bench; we assumed she was waiting for them. We weren’t able to ask. Laborers come through the fenced corridor and enter immediately. Two inspection stations are open; people go through quickly. A few cross to the seam zone.
17:10 We left the checkpoint. Vehicles bringing laborers continued to arrive.
Translator: Charles K.
Read here a report from same area, Mars 2004
06:10 A’anin checkpoint – agricultural checkpoint
The permanent crossing permits that A’anin’s farmers need to reach their lands beyond the fence, haven’t been renewed yet. Their current permits expire this coming Tuesday. When will they receive the new ones? The DCO gave us a definite answer: “Soon…”
Last Monday a resident of A’anin, who was on his way home, wanted to bring with him 15 yellow plastic containers. The female soldier at the checkpoint didn’t allow him to do so (because “it’s a commercial quantity, not a number for personal use”), and he was forced to hide them in bushes nearby. The soldiers who were there this morning allowed him to bring them through. He crossed to where he’d hidden them and found only three. Who’ll return the others to him? Who’ll cover the cost of the theft? Why is he forbidden on Monday and permitted on Thursday? What was the question?
A woman from A’anin went through the checkpoint riding on a small donkey.
Where to? She’s on her way to have coffee with her sister, who’s from the
Bedouin tribe living in the valley near the checkpoint.
We didn’t see the schoolchildren today. They stayed home with their mothers to celebrate International Women’s Day. When will mother rest? On Saturday, when they’ll return to school to make up the day they missed today.
A soldier comes over to ask whether we’re against them, and whether we know this land has been ours for two thousand years. We didn’t know, and we’re really not against them.
06:50 Shaked/Tura checkpoint – a “fabric of life” checkpoint
The soldiers arrived at five minutes to seven, the checkpoint opened at 7:10. In the absence of pupils and students, people stream through.
7:15 Reihan/Barta’a checkpoint
By now the parking lot is almost completely full. It’s impossible to ignore the new car models that proclaim the standard of living enjoyed by the fortunate. We saw only one dilapidated old Subaru at the checkpoint, alongside the luxurious 4x4’s and new European cars.
Ali, and his father Muhammad, residents of Yabed on the West Bank, joined us (after being rigorously inspected by security). Neta will bring them to Rambam Hospital for Ali’s weekly blood count (he had a liver transplant).
Translation: Bracha B.A.
06:10 – A'anin Agricultural Checkpointו
Wahel, a representative from the Liaison and Coordination Administration is busy issuing permits and gives us his telephone number 050-6234156. About 20 people are waiting at the middle checkpoint. The checkpoint is operating and only those with permits are allowed to cross. During our shift several people were sent back even though they had valid permits. According to Wahel, the reason is that they failed to return to A'anin at the end of the day. The 80-year-old man, a permanent guest at the checkpoint with his donkey, forgot his permit and his son has gone to get it. We are pleased to see that his son brings it and that he is allowed through. The checkpoint closes at 06:45. We estimate that about 40 people crossed through.
07:00 – Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
The computer is not working and it takes longer for people to cross through. Other than that things are proceeding as usual. Most of the people crossing are farmers going to their fields in the seamline zone. School children and teachers are crossing to the West Bank.
07:45 – New Reihan Barta'a Checkpoint
There are a lot of workers crossing through in the terminal. We followed things from a distance and saw that there were no unusual delays.
There are several tenders loaded with food standing by the side of the road waiting to be checked. One of the drivers told us that he began working when he was eight years old because there was financial difficulty in his family, and he had only gone to school for two years. He worked in agriculture in Baka el Rarbia. The same was true of his brother. He is now 22 and the poverty has continued in his new family. He has difficulty finding work and is happy to earn NIS 20 ($5.00) a day as a driver. He described horrible poverty and difficulty without any light at the end of the tunnel. His parents are refugees from Haifa in 1948 and arrived in Yaabed with nothing and have been living in desperate poverty ever since.
By 08:15 about 40 people had crossed to the seamline zone and only about 10 returned to the West Bank. Most of those were workers who were returning home after working at night.
14:50 – A'anin Checkpoint
We arrived early and no one was waiting to cross. The soldiers also arrived early and were waiting in their vehicle between the two fences. The soldiers did not bother to open the gates. They were evidently aware that no one had gone through in the morning because of the bad weather and no one would come through this afternoon either. Unlike the soldiers, we were not obligated to wait until 15:30.
15:50 – Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
There is a relatively large amount of traffic. Cars are being checked and are crossing in both directions. A few pedestrians are also crossing. One man crosses to the West Bank leading a horse. The soldiers play with the horse while the man is in the inspection booth.
16:00 Reihan Barta'a Checkpoint, West Bank Side
The lower parking lot is less full than on days when the weather is better. Workers come out of the terminal and disperse to the various waiting taxis.
16:35 – Reihan-Barta'a Checkpoint, Seamline Zone Side
Workers are arriving in their transports from work and walking down the sleeve. Two inspection windows are open and there is no waiting line. A few people cross from the West Bank to the seamline zone. There are no detainees.
16:50 – We are cold and decide to leave the checkpoint, where things are "going well." There are no vehicles waiting to be checked in either direction.
Translator: Charles K.
06:10 A’anin agricultural checkpoint
People still complain about delays in getting their long-term crossing permits renewed. The reason for the delay isn’t clear, nor is it clear why they continue to get the run-around when they try to renew their permits, when they’ll eventually be renewed anyway. The business of permits creates a great deal of bitterness, also among family members who receive them only in certain seasons for a restricted period of time, and in very limited numbers.
People cross as they always do; there’s nothing new. The soldiers are used to it; the machinery of occupation operates flawlessly.
06:40 The checkpoint closes.
07:00 Tura-Shaked checkpoint
People are held up in the inspection building a little longer than usual, perhaps because of the computer. The crossing flows in both directions. The young schoolchildren arrive at the checkpoint on foot, not with their usual ride. A few of the little girls stick their tongues out at us provocatively as they pass by. All of them dutifully open their schoolbags for the soldiers, as they’re supposed to, and then continue on their way.
08:00 New Barta’a checkpoint
About 15 cars wait at the middle checkpoint for their inspection to be completed. Loaded pickups and trucks wait at the checkpoint or on the road. A small group of taxi drivers chat with one another while they wait for people returning to the West Bank after working the night shift, hoping to earn a few shekels. They’re at home here with despair, but they no longer bother to tell us about the hardships – though they occasionally joke about them bitterly. The road to Yabed is still blocked by an iron bar. The local council is trying to convince the authorities to open it.
We go over to the fenced corridor to wait for people exiting the terminal to the seam zone. Everything’s going particularly slowly today, people are stuck inside the terminal and we hear their voices. When they exit, holding their belts in their hands, they complain about being delayed for a long time on their way to work. People who’d already gone through await them farther up the road, to continue together. The checkpoint manager is aware of the delay; he tells us on the phone that there’s been a hitch, “nothing can be done about it.”
During the 45 minutes we were there, about 70 people crossed to the seam zone – most of them laborers. Very few crossed to the West Bank.
09:15 We left.
Translator: Charles K.
06:10 A’anin checkpoint
About 30 residents of A’anin cross, most of them on foot, some on a tractor, one on a donkey. Two young men without permits are forced to return to the village.
06:30 The schoolchildren from the Bedouin encampment at the foot of the checkpoint wait for their transportation to the school in Umm Reihan. A lieutenant and second lieutenant lock the checkpoint gates.
06:50 Shaked-Tura checkpoint
We arrived early. One car already waits to cross to the West Bank. The soldiers arrive at 07:00 and five minutes later began letting cars and people through. One man has a computer in his car, which he isn’t allowed to take to the West Bank. A soldier hurries over to us to say that the man and his car are allowed to cross, but not the computer. The man brings the computer back to his home in Dahr al Malk, and goes through.
The schoolchildren from the solitary house arrive and cross.
07:25 About 25 schoolchildren and kindergartners arrive on foot, open their schoolbags for inspection and go through. Y., the driver, follows them; he usually drives them. He didn’t want to tell us why the children arrived on foot and not with him.
The older schoolchildren arrive a little later; they also cross, their schoolbags open for inspection.
The Umm Reihan teachers from the West Bank wait for their ride. One says that he was detained the day before yesterday until 09:00; they said he’d remained overnight in the seam zone. He says they forgot to note he’d returned.
07:45 Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint
Seven pickup trucks loaded with fruits and vegetables from the West Bank emerge from inspection. A few taxis on the seam zone side wait for customers from among those who work in eastern Barta’a.
The Palestinian parking lot is almost full. People arrive in small group and enter the terminal.
The road from the bridge to Zebda is locked with an iron gate as usual. The road south to Qafin and Tulkarm is blocked by concrete barriers. About a dozen cars are parked there.
The gate of the road from Amriha to Yabed is locked. Schoolchildren from Amriha who go to school in Yabed have to take the long way.
08:30 Dothan checkpoint
Three additional guards stand next to the soldiers; one has “Security” written on the back of his coat (?). Cars cross in both directions; some are stopped for document inspection.
We also drove toward Hermesh. The gate at the road to Tulkarm is wide open.
9:15 Baka checkpoint
No one’s here at this hour. Not many people are permitted to cross here. The fruit and vegetable stand next to the checkpoint is open. The cart and donkey that bring the produce from the West Bank wait off to the side.
Translator: Charles K.
Cows wander on the approach road to the A’anin checkpoint and among the olive trees. They’re apparently from Ein Sahala, the ones that damage the trees belonging to the farmers from A’anin. We called the community police officer from the Shaked settlement. He remembers the business with the cows. He’ll look into it.
15:05 A’anin checkpoint
The checkpoint gates are open, only a few people cross, and two tractors.
One man is detained; apparently he lacks a crossing permit. The soldiers tell him not to worry, and tell us that he’s “clean,” he’ll be able to cross, and make a few calls to whoever they call. Meanwhile the three soldiers from the armored corps and the female MP chat and laugh loudly. The detainee waits, and we also wait.
15:30 The checkpoint gates are locked. The soldiers and all of us are still waiting for the authorization. The detainee can sit in the shed between the fences but he’s already fed up and walks back and forth.
16:10 The answer arrives. He’s clean. They open the gate to A’anin and he goes home, waving thanks to us, even though we didn’t help at all. The soldiers can also leave the checkpoint. The end of a hallucinatory hour.
16:25 Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint, the Palestinian side
The parking lot is full. We park and give a man waiting for us the documents prepared for him by our colleague who deals with removing people from the permit blacklist. He tells us about his family’s troubles. Let’s hope he’s removed from the blacklist, and will at least find it easier to make a living.
16:35 Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint, seam zone side
Laborers come down the fenced corridor and immediately enter the terminal. Someone is repairing the revolving gate at the entrance; traffic in both directions goes through a single revolving gate. The female inspector is efficient, and no line forms. Five detainees sit on a bench in the terminal, seven more wait outside. Two guards stand by the man repairing the revolving gate and instruct the inspector when to open and close the other one. Soon the seven detainees are called inside and the revolving gate has also been fixed.
16:55 On our way to the upper parking lot we have the pleasure of seeing the gates to the vehicle inspection area open wide. Three cars stand there, their hoods open. The drivers close the hoods and drive off.
17:05 Shaked-Tura checkpoint
A few cars cross in both directions. A few people on foot return to the seam zone. We go home.