'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Thu 7.1.10, Morning

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Miriam Z, Shula B (reporting)

Translating Louis W.

06:15 Aanin Checkpoint
The checkpoint at the foot of Um el-Fahm, east of the separation fence, is an agricultural checkpoint designed, according to the occupier, to preserve the fabric of life of the residents of Aanin, in other words the preservation of the continuous link with their agricultural fields trapped inside the northern Seam Zone enclave. Recently we have reported that the Civil Administration has not renewed transit permits of Aanin and neighbouring farmers and therefore in practice the flow of transients, morning and evening at the checkpoint, can be seen to be lessening daily. So much for the fabric of life. The olive groves of those who do not succeed in coming out to cultivate them each year are neglected, weedy and deteriorating. Who profits from that?

According to the few crossing this morning, ten people have passed the checkpoint, "and that’s how it is every day." At 06:30 there was no Palestinian at the checkpoint, and the soldiers closed the main gate and came to talk to us. They confirmed the numbers. "The olive picking season is over," they explain politely, and recite without thinking "so they have nothing for which to cross..."

06:55 Reihan Checkpoint
The lower (Palestinian) parking lot begins to fill with vehicles of West Bank Palestinians come to work in flourishing East Bartaa. The traffic to the Seam Zone is still light. A young man coming out of the terminal towards the West Bank (he visited Bartaa and is now on his way home), is requested to return to the table in front of the emplacement where Big Brother sits, seeing but unseen, and asked to open his bag and expose the contents. "A cake, that’s good," the voice of Big Brother, "lift it, take it out." Finally the young man packs his belongings while the Palestinians waiting to enter the terminal prod him to move on.

A pickup loaded with agricultural produce waits to be called for inspection. In the compound some trucks. "Today it’s okay," says one of the drivers transporting fruit and vegetables from the West Bank to East and West Bartaa, and thence to wherever possible in Israel.

In the upper lot, vehicles waiting to transport workers spewing out of the terminal. Ten workers, having finished the check, are standing on the road waiting for Mustafa, their driver, to take them to Shahak Industrial Zone. He has already been delayed for an hour in the vehicle checkpoint. They say he is delayed every morning (and afternoon) for half an hour, an hour, an hour and a half – and they are late for work.

Sharon, the checkpoint manager, knows the driver, knows that he has problems (which he can’t detail to us), and therefore he is always stopped for a thorough examination. This morning he has been delayed only half an hour, but "as you know, he can be detained for three hours."
It has been some time since we last heard that educational contention. By the time we left, Mustafa was out and had collected the ten workers. The playground in the centre of the checkpoint is spick and span, standing silently as though waiting for a visit from Tony Blair.
07:40 Shaked Checkpoint
At this hour, almost no one. No teachers, no schoolchildren large or small. Perhaps winter break has already begun in the schools.