'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 17.8.09, Morning
Translation: Bracha B.A.
06:10 – A’anin Agricultural Checkpoint
The representative of the Liaison and Coordination Administration is not here. About 30 people are crowded near the middle gate. The inspections are being conducted by hand. Everyone going through is listed and after their permit is checked and a short inquisitive interview during which each person is asked to report where, why and what place they are going, and that information is noted on a piece of paper fluttering in the wind. This give an air of seriousness to the entire scene.
All the bags people are carrying are checked. Any packages inside the bags are suspected of being items for sale that are not permitted to bring across. This took place several times during the shift. Clarifying these things takes a long time and from a distance it appears to be harassment. By 6:30 only some of the people had gone through, and more continue to arrive.
The soldiers’ behavior at the checkpoint is not consistent and changes from one brigade to another. After the issue of children’s passage was clarified during our meeting with the head of the Liaison and Coordination Administration and in the field, the problem repeated itself. This shows to what degree the authorities of the occupation are concerned with the rights of the local residents, who are refugees in their own country and subject to random decrees of every young soldier and what he decides at the moment.
12- to 16-year old boys who are with their parents and have birth certificates are not allowed to go through. They are turned back one by one and their parents continue on without them, angry and resentful.
A particularly hostile soldier (orthodox, with a kippah and earlocks) is bothered by our presence. He checks occasionally and repeatedly warns us “You can’t cross the border.” At one point he drives the Hummer opposite us to separate us from the residents who are being checked by his comrades. We climb a hill and observe from there, ignoring him. Appeals to Adel, the head of the Liaison and Coordination Administration, and to Abbas do not help. We also left a message with a polite soldier at the Liaison and Coordination Administration, which did not help either.
At 07:00 the last of the tractors passed through after inspection and the checkpoint is locked.
07:15 Shaked-Tura CheckpointK. the representative from the Liaison and Coordination Administration, is not here.
Last week after the inspection in the booth was slower than usual, we were told that the reason was that a new brigade had arrived and they were being taught the procedures. Today we saw just how much this learning period helped.
Dozens of workers on their way to work in the seamline zone are waiting at the turnstile at the entrance to the inspection booth. ON the side where we are standing there are more than a dozen students or teachers on their way to the university in Jenin. The passage in unbearably slow. More people and children arrive all the time. People complain about the nerve-wracking slowness. “They are letting people in slowly, one by one.” “They are tossing aside I.D. cards with contempt.” With luck people finally emerge from the inspection booth.
When we ask why someone is being held, the soldier answers, “There are a lot of infiltrators who want to go through without documents, so we check really well.” We did not ask who the were the infiltrators and who were invaders in this place.
One of the residents coming out complains in Arabic while stuttering with excitement and anger. His friend translates and finally yells at us that “All of you are the same, you think that we are animals.” Others refuse to answer our questions and ignore our goodbyes. Their angry looks say everything.
08:10 We left. Many people were still waiting to enter the inspection booth.
08:20 The New Barta’a Checkpoint (Reihan)
Workers are arriving at the checkpoint at the rate of one taxi load every minute or two and disappear into the terminal. A few drivers are waiting for heaven knows what. It is hot and tiresome. People are talking about their difficulties before Ramadan and the beginning of the school year and ask for help in one form or another.
We buy olive oil from a friend and go up to the sleeve to observe people coming out. ON the way we declare the oil in the car. The security guards call Sharon, who sends us to the upper terminal to be checked. There, close to God, we are impressed by the surge of construction and investment in designing the place that is a source of pride for the State of Israel.
About 12 cars with their doors open are standing in the parking lot being checked by a security guard. The drivers watch us through the bars from the other side. In the inspection facility there are several vans waiting to be unloaded. Everything seems tired and weary. The dogs are quiet (there are six kennels) and sleeping before they are once again put into action in the afternoon. The proud dog landler is busy working in the nearby garden.
We wait several minutes for the end of the inspection. We received the oil, which to our relief was found to be acceptable.
08:50 We left the upper parking lot on our way out and did not continue to observe.