'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 20.9.10, Morning

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Leah R., Anna N.S.

Translator:  Charles K.

06:00  A’anin agricultural gate
We arrive, along with the children of the Bedouin family which lives next to the checkpoint; about ten children are waiting for their ride to school in Umm Reihan, which is over at 14:00.

Few cross, only about 15 people.  Silent, hurried; what can they say that hasn’t been said already?  What can they ask for that they haven’t already received?  We watch what’s happening at the far end of the checkpoint; people with a valid permit don’t seem to have any problem.

A soldier on guard points his weapon in our direction, toward those leaving for the seam zone.

Abbas, from the DCO, stops on his way to the Shaked checkpoint.  He says that they’re beginning to issue permits for the olive harvest that begins in mid-October.  He doesn’t know how many.  No, it’s not too late (in any case, there aren’t many permits – there’s not much work.  There’ll be enough!)

06:40  The new Barta’a checkpoint (Reihan)
Laborers who’ve been inspected wait by the roadside for their rides.  Many laborers arrive and immediately enter the terminal.  On their way they place their meager belongings on the table across from the inspecting window and pass through the magnemometer.  No one mentions the peace talks, unlike in the past when passions ran high.  “Life is just a crapshoot over which we have no control,” says M., one of drivers, “so what’s there to talk about?  What will be – will be; it’s all in Allah’s hands.”  In other words – you can’t be disappointed if you have no expectations.  Everyone’s quiet, which is good for the Occupaiton.

Abut six cars and pickups heading toward the West Bank wait for a woman carrying a babyinfo-icon to be inspected.

07:00  Hermesh checkpoint
The checkpoint isn’t manned.  People cross freely.  We pass the fires and smoke of charcoal manufactories along the road.

07:20  Back to the new Barta’a checkpoint (Reihan)
Vehicles are now waiting at the lower checkpoint, the drivers waiting outside their vehicles in the blazing sun, seeking a little shade next to them.  We waited with them for about 20 more minutes.  Leah went to find out the reason for the delay.  Meanwhile the gatesinfo-icon of the inspection area burst open and about ten vehicles emerge, picking up the laborers who’ve been waiting since we arrived to bring them to work.

08:00  We left
On our way back, a man who doesn’t want to identify himself calls to tell us that his employer pays him NIS 15/hour instead of NIS 21, and hangs up.

We should mention the magnificent squill plants we saw everywhere, blooming on the rocky slopes, just like that, in the midst of the Occupation – a sight for sore eyes.