'Anin, Mevo Dotan (Imriha), Reihan, Shaked, Thu 21.10.10, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
06:20 A’anin checkpoint
The checkpoint is operating. The Bedouin children ride donkeys to where they’re picked up for school (adjoining the checkpoint). Two farmers from A’anin also arrive on donkeys, others come on foot or by tractor pulling a wagon(its mainly women who are seated in the wagon), all of them headed to the olive groves – the 2010 harvest is at its height. It’s a good crop.
One farmer is angry: no, don’t photograph here, go to the other side, why are they delaying us? They’re delaying us for no reason, go take pictures over there. – “Mamnu’a lana, fish tasrikh. We can’t – we don’t have a crossing permit” we tell him. A nice soldier comes over, full of curiousity; he’s never heard of us. I’m an extreme right-winger, he tells us, and listens to us carefully. He’s really into it. He enthusiastically promises to set up a meeting with the soldiers in his battalion (artillery).
Major Ra’em from the Salem DCO tells us that the commander is being replaced. The new head of the Salem DCO will be Kamal Haj. Ra’emis his deputy.
06:55 The last person crosses, number 95. That’s how many crossed this morning to pick olives. The soldiers lock the checkpoint.
07:05 Shaked-Tura checkpoint
The children living in the seam zone who attend kindergarten in Tura (on the West Bank) arrive with their ride at the same time as we do. Aged four and five, they run toward the soldiers at the checkpoint, stop, wait for their names to be checked and their satchels inspected. The soldier we spoke with at the A’anin checkpoint agrees that it’s absurd to search kindergarten children, “but,” he says seriously, “it’s not them we’re inspecting but what their parents might have put in their bags.” (!)
Yesterday Palestinian TV filmed on both sides of the checkpoint. They’ll broadcast the film this Saturday at 9 AM.
07:30 Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint
On one of the eastern hills, on the West Bank side, on the way to the checkpoint, three wind turbines are turning, filling with green energy.
A few people exiting the terminal to the seam zone through the upper corridor. No delays. We saw the sophisticated revolving gate that can, if necessary, turn into a revolving door.
“How are things?” a driver waiting for customers asks.
“Lousy, no?” we try to feel him out…
But he disagrees. “Why lousy? Everything’s fine, there’s a permit, there’s work.”
Who says the occupation is bad? Here are occupied people, happy with their meager lot.
Sanitary news: two shiny new bathroom stalls at the edge of the lower Palestinian parking lot. Locked (so they won’t get dirty).
Six pickup trucks loaded with produce gathered throughout the West Bank wait to be inspected before transporting their loads to the eastern and western parts of Barta’a.
08:00 Hermesh checkpoint
Open and unmanned. From here to Tulkarm is area A, accessible only to Palestinians.
08:15 Dothan checkpoint – open and manned. Traffic in both directions flowing almost without inspections. The checkpoint commander, a sergeant who looks very religious, a little hostile, comes over to us: Move your vehicle, or I’ll close the checkpoint to the Palestinians. It’s my checkpoint, he says a number of times. “Do you want to see me do it?” His bored pal tells us he’s glad we came, we’re dispelling the boredom. Add this to what’s wrong with the occupation: It’s boring.
08:35 The old Barta’a checkpoint
08:50 Not far from the checkpoint, three women hanging on ladders, milking olives from the branches. They’re covered from head to foot, including gloves. It’s a funny scene. We’re amazed, and they immediately invite us to have coffee. They live in the western part of Barta’a, the grove belongs to their family, the whole family works in the harvest, from the youngest to the oldest. Afterwards we met our friend Walid at his place of work. Soon he’ll be 20, soon he’ll have his own home above that of his parents, and soon, when the building is finished, he’ll look for a bride. He’s our little boy who grew up at the Reihan checkpoint, who’d always wait impatiently and very excitedly to sell us tea and candy, and make a killing for the day.
09:20 The eastern entrance to Barta’a is a combination of pretentiousness and bitter reality: a fairly elaborate entry arch to the town’s dirty back yard, but not by chance it’s the entrance from the West Bank. The day will come. The arch is decorated with Palestinian flags.