'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 21.12.09, Morning
All through the morning – the drive, the stay and the way back from the checkpoint - the heavy feeling of tension over the Shalit deal. Let’s hope for a good end...
15-16 men and a number of tractors have crossed the checkpoint. Our acquaintance, the old man on a donkey, is also out. He got a pass for two years (!). We raise an eyebrow, and he says that in checking on his groves he was met by soldiers there, and therefore... Is it now true that the army tracks holders of permits on their fields?
Another man tells of severe distress in Aanin village. People without work, sick without medicine, despair eating away at every corner., unbearable situation, now augmented by the decree of restricted permits without which they cannot care for the source of their livelihood – agriculture.
We saw four youngsters being sent back the way they had come, apparently because of expired permits.
06:50 Reihan-Bartaa Checkpoint
Most of the workers have already passed. As have the seamstresses. An occasional taxi brings a group of late workers, immediately swallowed up into the terminal. They say that the checkpoint on the bridge has been eliminated, so that private cars and taxis from Jenin and elsewhere in the West Bank can come down to Reihan Checkpoint without interference.
An older man from Kafin, owner of a shop in Bartaa, talks about the difficulty of making a living alongside the constant harassment at the checkpoint. He has a magnetic card, a permanent pass, and yet recently he doesn’t pass the biometric identification. Time after time he is sent to the DCO in Tulkarm, where they check him and say "everything is okay" and sent him back to the checkpoint to again confront the security men. Last time he brought from there a note that the "man is entitled to pass." This undignified note which he showed us was supposed to give validity to his claim to pass.
And we wondered: why do they do this to an elderly man? Why do they send him time and again and give him no help in solving the problem with a little more willingness and creativity? Instead of sending him to Tulkarm DCO, it would be possible to clarify over the phone. Expense, lost time and nerves – loss of a day’s work – are none of these worthy of consideration?
07:20 Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
About 30 people wait by the turnstile on the West Bank side. People passing to the Seam Zone enclave. The inspection in the hut is proceeding at a reasonable pace. Schoolchildren pass by the soldier with open satchels, including the small ones among them. The school principal from Hirbet Barta’a arrives in his car from the West Bank. He is stopped for a more thorough check. It’s the same every day. The man is rushing to school with several teachers in his car, but he has to undergo this check every day, in the same style, until a call to the DCO when the soldiers are told to let him go. Then he is released. He has to endure the daily humiliation.
In the evening, Raya announced that yesterday evening there has been a demonstration of residents of Dar el Malikh at Shaked Checkpoint. We did not succeed in finding out what that meant.
08:30 Jalame Checkpoint
On our way to pick up Suhail and her daughter Aya, to go to Rambam Hospital, we saw three buses waiting to take families on prison visits.
Appendix – a day and a half later...
Last night a man from Kapin called and said that his son's been arrested yesterday morning at Reihan Checkpoint when trying to return to the West Bank (without a pass) from East Bartaa. The father heard of the arrest and rushed to the checkpoint, presented himself by means of his ID card and asked to see his son, who was in one of the rooms of the police station. He asked to see him. At the checkpoint – everything is rigid. They didn’t allow him to approach, nor to see from a distance. Somehow the voices rose, the security men shouted at the father, who shouted back. They spoke insultingly to him, threw his ID on the ground. Till the late hours yesterday evening he did not know where the boy had been taken. We told the man that his son was in the detention centre at Salem camp. But today, a day and a half after the event, it is not possible to know whether the information is up to date and the youngster is still there. The father’s attempts to get information about his son failed. Tomorrow, a representative of the Association for Civil Rights will intervene. We hope for the best...