'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Sun 9.10.11, Morning
Translation: Bracha B.A.
A'anin Checkpoint, 05:05
The gates are supposed to be opened at 05:30. Meanwhile the checkpoint is closed and no one is there. Perhaps we have made a mistake. We waited. At 05:45 the soldiers arrive in a jeep and have trouble opening the gate. The key does not fit in the lock. They all try but do not succeed. A soldier jumps over the gate and tries to open it from the other side but the lock still does not open. Meanwhile we decide to go to Shaked Checkpoint that now opens at 06:00 to see if it has opened on time. On the way we saw cows grazingand eating the olive trees. Farmers have been complaining for several years about the cows from Ein Sahala (whose owners have blue Israeli ID cards). The cows do substantial damage to the trees in the seamline zone but the farmers are unable to do anything about it since they can only cross to their fields for limited hours two days a week. The cows are free to wander through the fields every day and no one can stop them. All the complaints made to the Israeli Police did not help.
Shaked-Tura Checkpoint 06:00
We were told that the soldiers arrived at the checkpoint at 05:50. There are many young people crossing to work in the olive harvest and it appears that everything is in order, so we returned to A'anin to see if the checkpoint was open.
A'anin Checkpoint 06:15
The gates at the checkpoint are still open and it appears that people are going through. We hear shouting coming from the inner gate. Some young people tell us that people are fighting over spots in the line. Despite the fact that about 200 people have received permits for the olive harvest, there are still many people complaining that they had not receive permits. This becomes clear to us later when the women begin to cross over in a way we are not accustomed to. There is fighting over places in the line and the women are coming through last. About ten women of various ages wearing beautiful embroidered dresses cross through with buckets in their hands to work in the harvest alone. (See Photo). The men of their families did not receive permits. An elderly woman walks through limping, followed by an elderly relative – they are the only ones from the family to receive permits. I remember them from last year. People also drive through on tractors. One tractor is forced to turn back because of a broken gear shift and the driver is given permission to go back to the village.
The children from the Bedouin village on the hill climb up to wait for their ride to school in Um-Reihan. The young man who asked us for towels last week repeats his request – apparently he meant shirts, not towels. Sometimes we are allowed to bring used clothing and sometimes not. We waited until 07:15 until the last of the people had crossed through. We returned to Shaked Checkpoint.
Shaked-Tura Checkpoint 07:25
Y., the driver who picked up the children near the gate at A'anin has already dropped them off at school in Um Reihan and is now picking up the smaller children from Dahar al Malak at the gate to the checkpoint. From here they will cross through to their school in Tura. The older children cross through as well and their bags are meticulously checked.
On our way to Reihan Checkpoint we saw new electric poles that did not have any wires strung between them yet. We drove to Um Reihan to see if they were finally starting to connect the village to electricity. We found out that the poles were there to provide additional electricity to the settlements and to the Shahak industrial zone. Perhaps the village will finally be connected. It currently receives electricity from a generator for only a few hours a day since the residents cannot afford to pay more for the batteries.
We arrived late – it is three hours since the checkpoint opened. There is not an inch of space in the lower parking lot. There is one truck in the parking lot and six cars are waiting at the entrance to the inspection area with their doors open. This is only the beginning where licenses are checked. The cars themselves will be checked in the facility above.