'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Thu 5.11.09, Morning
06:10: 'Aanin CP (agricultural barrier)
The CP opened at 05:30 and the soldiers were on duty. By the time of our arrival, the passage of workers was at full swing; some 40 workmen from the village of 'Aanin had entered the seamline zone, and we were told by the Palestinians that the checking of documents and the inspection procedures were efficient and speedy. Since these are done in the center of the lower-level CP, in the area removed from our sight, we had difficulty in following the process.
In the CP area there is an accumulation of garbage (plastic bags, furniture remains, construction rubble), blowing away in all directions. Due to the lack of someone responsible, this treasure of nature is turning into a refuse dump. Under the trees there were three sacks of sawdust (probably discarded once rejected permission). A "new" soldier explains that merchandise cannot be transferred through these agricultural gates. Even sawdust assumes the title of "merchandise" in these domains.
06:30: Speedy and efficient passage. The workmen estimated that 50 more were still waiting to get through. A Palestinian showed us his permit and told us that most of the permits were limited to the end of this month (30.9.09) – the end of the olive harvest season – and only a numbered few received a full year's permit. All requests for extension of passage permits were rejected – olive harvesting is but one aspect of the farmers' need to cross over in order to tend their orchards and fields. The villagers intend to protest this situation fiercely, including to the Arabic media. This year the yield is very meager and the man lays the blame on the occupying forces, which severely restricted the farmers' access and ability to cultivate their plots (pruning, plowing, etc.) throughout the year and protect them from the damage inflicted by the sheep and goat herds roaming the area (for instance, from Umm El Fahm). "Whom have we not approached, who did we not talk with", he claims, "with the Israeli and Palestinian Liaison Offices, with officers at the CP, with the municipal authorities of Umm El Fahm, but all to no avail.
7:00: We left but were told that 25 more Palestinians were still waiting. A total of some 100 men will be crossing over this morning. No women among them.
07:10: Shaked-Tura CP
Scores of people crowding up the turnstile area, together with a herd of goats. The soldiers are handling the situation calmly and at a reasonable pace. At 7:20 the schoolchildren start arriving. The older ones pass through without delay, but it is the younger ones who need to present their identification documents in order to verify their presence on the soldier's list; they have to pass behind a muddy concrete parapet.
07:30: Mini-van taxis arrive, transferring passengers from the seamline zone to the West Bank; they are checked (permits, baggage trunks) and continue on their way. The atmosphere is calm, peaceful discussions, seemingly a sort of reconciliation with the occupation – how else can one explain the ambience of the situation.
Some 60 persons crossed into the seamline zone, 15 more still waiting to get through.
7:40: Rehan-Barta'a CP
Three- four vans carrying agricultural products from the West Bank are waiting for inspection in order to cross over to Barta'a. We had not noted the waiting time. The parking lot was full of vehicles of those leaving the WB to their work in the seamline zone. A constant stream of passers-through, some scores while we were there. Usually the passage is smooth, though at times there is some pressure prior to entrance into the inspection areas. The people have accustomed themselves to the procedures, seemingly "accepting" the situation and only those equipped with the necessary documents show up at the crossing. Here we have an example of the "banality of the occupation", which wears down resistance, hides the degradation and insult of those lucky enough to secure permits.
Our report, of course, deals only with Palestinians who are fortunate enough to actually hold permits, reach the checkpoints and cross over to work in construction or till their land.