'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 30.11.09, Morning
Fourth day of Eid al-Adha, Festival of the Sacrifice, and the last day of olive harvest (5.10 - 30.11.09).
06:05 Aanin Checkpoint
The road to the checkpoint is empty. When we reach the checkpoint, the reason is clear – for the holiday the checkpoint opens half an hour later, at 06:00, as do the other checkpoints. The Palestinians were not informed.
Scores are waiting on the far, lower side. Those coming out complain that permits had not been renewed. The commander of Salem DCO confirmed that this was true, because the olive harvest had ended, and he was not convinced that maintenance of the trees and cultivation of the land needed to be done all year in order to guarantee a good yield in the coming year. Despite the festive atmosphere, the residents looked helpless. Last year there had been a similar problem and they had made a demonstration and invited a British tv reporter to cover events. Following this, the army had "made problems for us at the checkpoint," saying "if you speak again to the press you will not get permits at all."
The crossing itself was quick without any delays. At the entrance to the checkpoint stood an armed soldier, watching us to see that we did not cross the "line."
A family with a number of toddlers, beautifully dressed, came out looking as if they were returning from a family visit.
07:05 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
Here too they opened the checkpoint late and scores were waiting by the gate. For a long time we have not heard the loudspeakers calling "yalla, pass," "pass," "who are you?" "Open the bag," "only five to enter," etc. Not "happy holiday" or "good morning." Upon our entry into the compound and approach to the waiting line, the rate of passage picked up. Now they all passed the yellow gate and are crowded in the sleeve at the entrance to the terminal. Far from us. We ascend the sleeve to follow the exit. Only one window is open. Transit time 20 minutes.
A young man, around 30, is detained. He is an "illegal," seeking to return home in Yaabed in the West Bank. According to him he has been waiting since 06:30. Around 07:45, five security men appear and demand his documents. He has no permit to cross, and according to him he is returning from Bartaa. The security men interrogate: "Good, you were there, who did you meet." After quarter of an hour they take him into one of the rooms. To our distress, we left before he came out.
On the road, the familiar picture: a Palestinian taxi being checked and all the passengers standing aside and waiting for it to end. At the same time, Israeli vehicles flow past on the same road with no obstruction. Lords of the Land...
08:15 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
Instead of 07:00, the army also decided that 08:00 is good enough. School is closed and the workers – let them wait.
On the east side of the checkpoint scores of men are waiting as usual. On the Seam Zone side a few cars wait to cross to the West Bank. People complain about long checks – wasted time. Here too complaints about passes not renewed. They ask – what will be? We move one step into the checkpoint to see better, and immediately, but immediately, a roar: "Yalla, yalla, get out of there!" I comment to him that he should be polite, and in response he raises his voice and screams "back off!"
We "backed" out at 08:45.
This evening Leah reports that B., a Palestinian who works in Shahak Industrial Area by Shaked, was informed that his magnetic card was corrupted and he must change it. He travelled to the Salem DCO in the morning, paid 100 shekels for a renewed card, waited till evening at the DCO and then received the card. He lost a day’s work, paid out 100 shekels. Okay. Tried the next day to cross with the new card, was told at the checkpoint that there was a fault in the card and required to change it. The man again went to DCO Salem in the morning, paid 100 shekels for a renewed card, waited till evening and was given the card. Another word day lost, 200 shekels down the drain. Yesterday he came to the checkpoint with the new card and now he was told that his permit is out of date. Tomorrow he will come with his boss to the checkpoint – maybe he will pass, maybe it will be okay. Seven roads of hell, and more, in order to make a living. Go and tell that to Bibi.