'Anin, Mevo Dotan (Imriha), Reihan, Shaked, Mon 19.7.10, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
06:10 A’anin agricultural checkpoint
The checkpoint just opened, ten minute late. A female soldier says the delay was caused by an incident at the fence, while a soldier warns her not to talk to us. There’s a large awning before the entrance to the checkpoint for the many people returning to the village of A’anin from their workday. How pathetic – the facility is there, but no people. For the past month and a half no new permits for agricultural work have been issued. Abbas, from the DCO, says (later, by phone) that applications to renew permits have to be submitted to the Palestinian liaison office, not to the DCO in Salem, one week prior to the expiration of the existing permit. The Palestinian liaison office transfers the applications to the Salem DCO, which returns answers regarding each application. That’s how the process is made more efficient and shorter, and that way it’s also possible to blame the Palestinian liaison office for the delay.
Today we’re finally able to bring second-hand clothing to the village – a poor relief effort, literally.
Inspections are carried out near the gate. Someone who gets too close to the female soldier is told to move back. He gives his document to a soldier, who gives it to the female soldier, who checks it on the computer and sometimes makes a call, and returns the document to the soldier who returns it to the laborer, and after all this he is, or is not, permitted to cross over to his lands on the other side of the separation barrier. Before his document is checked he has to “dance”: raise his trouser legs, his shirt, turn around. Sometimes also open the plastic bag he’s holding for the contents to be inspected.
“Raise your trousers; do you have a permit?” asks the soldier and sends the laborer back where he came from. That’s how it is. The permit has expired and hasn’t been renewed. There are those who own the lands, and there is a lord of the landowners. We counted six people who were turned back. The short old man wearing a kafiyyeh and his old, scarred donkey are crossing. My wife, poor woman, is still sick, he says sadly.
Tractors also cross after a careful inspection.
A total of about 30 people crossed.
07:00 Tura-Shaked checkpoint
The checkpoint on the security barrier side is closed. A soldier inspects a vehicle. Another soldier holding a rifle in his arms like it was a baby walks around it. A soldier in the observation post points his rifle toward the barrier. A few minutes later the yellow gate is opened and the laborers gather in front of the revolving gate before entering the inspection building. A soldier comes over to keep order: “One at a time” he demands. People obey, about 15 form a line.
Despite the apparently calm procedure, the atmosphere is that of a depressing occupation. People are still hurt from the confrontation with H., insulted that strangers are doing what they want on their land as if it belonged to them and behave scornfully toward the landowners. “Is that how they think they’re protecting you?” says one man, bitterly, not waiting for an answer. “That’s right,” says the next, while trying to put his belt through the loops of his trousers. “Whatever they do…” , searching for the right word, “…is bad,” he says and motions with his hand. Many complain how rude Gil’ad, the checkpoint commander, is.
08:00 Mavo Dothan checkpoint
On our way we pass the locked gates blocking access to the roads to Qafin and to Tulkarm and Yabed. It’s not clear why they’re still locked; we hypothesize that it’s because the time Palestinians must spend is irrelevant. Let them detour, drive the long way around, waste time and money, who cares, they should know their place. On the other hand, all the way to Mavo Dothan there are guard towers (pillboxes) from which events in the area can be documented. Many Hummers pass.
At the checkpoint: Many vehicles waiting on both sides of the checkpoint. More vehicles coming from the east (Jenin) than going east to Jenin. What are they waiting for? The soldiers’ breakfast has been delivered, so people are waiting. Now they open the checkpoint and the traffic jam is over.
08:30 Reihan (Barta’a) checkpoint
Pickup trucks waiting, bored drivers passing the time in conversations about nothing. This is the hour where “merchandise” crosses over to Barta’a (as opposed to “laborers” who cross at an earlier hour). Nothing interrupts the routine here, each one plays his part, knows his place, no one tries to be different. Nauseatingly depressing.
09:15 We left.