'Anin, Mevo Dotan (Imriha), Reihan, Shaked, Thu 27.5.10, Morning

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Neta G., Shula B. (reporting)

Translator:  Charles K.

We saw only happy Palestinians at all the checkpoints*
A’anin checkpoint  06:10 
Fifteen minutes after the checkpoint was supposed to open, people begin crossing from A’anin to the seam line.. Taymor, from the DCO, in a white Sufa jeep, updates Yosef, his replacement.

 Today people are gathered at the lower part of the checkpoint so we can’t see how many are waiting.  We know there aren’t more than 20, and see that today the inspections are rigorous, asking questions, checking with the magnemometer, making them "dance" (Lift up the shirt. Turning around(. The Palestinian men greet us with a “good morning,” as usual, “what’s new,” “maybe you’ve brought clothing – no? OK, next time.”  The women giggle and the children are shy.  Large raindrops fall like tears from the sky on us all.

Whoever goes through the A’anin checkpoint can continue to Tel Aviv without hindrance. So why do we need the checkpoint there?

Shaked checkpoint  07:00
All the regulars at this hour are already waiting for the start of the morning ritual.  On the seam line side the banker is waiting in his car, the school principal in his car, younger and older pupil and a few other vehicles.  About 20 laborers wait on the other side near the turnstile, along with an obedient herd of goats and some vehicles.  The older pupils don’t have schoolbags – final exams are underway, and soon vacation. Whoever goes through the Shaked checkpoint can continue to Tel Aviv without hindrance. So why do we need the checkpoint there?

Mavo Dothan checkpoint 07:35

Soldiers who never heard of us go to check and come back.  An armed soldier point his weapon in our general direction.
Heavy traffic toward Ya’abed and Jenin, and back to the Reichan checkpoint.  If a soldier stops a car for inspection (randomly) a line of many cars immediately forms in both directions.

On the basis of the cars coming now from Jenin, businessmen who are doing well are on their way to Barta’a.  In Barta’a they’re complaining that the locals aren’t benefiting from the town’s flourishing market because most of the shop owners are from Ya’abed or from Jenin.

Reichan checkpoint 08:15
The parking lot is packed as usual with the vehicles of people crossing to Barta’a.  Many new municipal jeeps.  An elderly man who looks depressed, the owner of a business making charcoal that’s been enclosed within the area of the seam line, asks for help.  He wants to sleep at his business.  It’s his place, and he can’t leave it unsupervised.  He can’t get a permit to sleep in the area of the seam line, even though everyone agrees that it’s Palestinian land.

A nice, 32 year old man, well-dressed, recounts his sad story.  He once worked in Israel painting houses as a warehouseman for Cellcom.  Earned NIS 300 a day, married and had two children (there wasn’t enough money for any more).  Suddenly he was notified that he’s forbidden entry to Israel.  But he was allowed to enter the eastern side of Barta’a with a special note in his permit, “despite the prohibition.”  He worked in Barta’a, earned less, but was working.  Now he’s not even allowed into Barta’a.  Now he’s imprisoned on the eastern side of the separation fence, drives someone else’s car, earns almost nothing.  The Palestinian enclosure that was created is off-limits to him, perhaps because once, years ago, he refused to be a collaborator.  He says:  If my son is sick I wait a few days before I bring him to the doctor, maybe in the meantime he’ll get better.  We eat only basic foodstuffs, we don’t enjoy anything.  What are you doing about it, he asks, pointing to our badges, about human rights?  In practical terms, that is.  We only stammered in reply.

Meanwhile, A’atef showed up and offered us an aishtanur pita his wife had baked, and olive oil.  He forgot the za’atar.


We are tied to people here by heavy bonds of sadness.


*Happy to have received crossing permits