'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 5.9.11, Morning

Leah R., Anna N.S.

Translator:  Charles K.

06:05  A’anin checkpoint

A relatively large number of people wait next to the checkpoint’s middle gate, among them young men and also tractors.  Inspection goes slowly, carried out by a female soldier checking names on a computer sitting on a concrete slab.  Two soldiers provide security for her.  A man who wants to go through arrives, stands at a safe distance.  If he comes too close, the soldier will tell him to go back.  He hands over his documents and waits for the female soldier to decide his fate – permitted to reach his olive grove, or sent back to his village.  She has doubts, phones the DCO, the response is delayed and she asks the man to move aside and takes the next person in line.  This is a rare situation because the soldier usually knows all the rules.  Sometimes she raises her voice – “He can’t cross!”, maybe the person is deaf, or then yells at those waiting, “Move back,” and one of the armed soldiers helps them understand more quickly.  Most of those who are refused entry are youngsters aged 12-16, who fall through the cracks because of inappropriate permits

Soldiers rummage through a sack to see what it contains.  Where’s its owner going?  One man, with nerve, dares to say that in the afternoon he’s going to the Umm Reihan mosque, to which he has to come clean and tidy, so he’s bringing clean clothes with him, like others do.  An excited man tells us that his son was called to the DCO this afternoon, probably to receive permits he requested for his wife and other children.  Inshallah ya rab! he says, lifting his eyes and hands to the heavens beseeching the Lord to help realize his wish.  The poor man’s measure of happiness.

Bedouin pupils come up from the wadi, clean, tidy and excited, smiling at us bashfully.  Their transportation to school in Umm Reihan arrives.

07:00  Shaked - Tura checkpoint

Yusuf brings the children, the little ones burst quickly and happily from the vehicle and run toward the soldiers.  The latter inspect the small satchels as if this was second nature, arrangements existing from time immemorial.  Part of the educational process of making the occupation a part of their consciousness.  Others pass to and from the West Bank, stopping briefly in the building to be identified and registered.

07:30  Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint

The checkpoint routine.

Three pickup trucks wait on the road, three more in the parking lot.  A few drivers, waiting for their documents to be returned, are talking in the middle of the checkpoint area, until they’ll be called for their merchandise to be inspected.  We’re taking Ali and his mother to Rambam hospital.  To judge from the amount of belongings they’re taking, they’ll be there a long time.  The mother goes through the terminal in 15 minutes.

To sum up the day:  Nothing sudden or terrible happened.  No one behaved irregularly.  Everything was boringly routine – a very boring occupation…