'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 3.12.12, Morning

Leah R., Ana N.S


Translator:  Charles K.


06:10  A’anin agricultural crossing

15 people have gone through so far, dozens more waiting to cross.  Many young people among them who during the recent olive harvest season had received crossing permits to the seam zone for the first time in their lives.

People are in a particularly good mood today: they have a state recognized by the entire world!


Only N., who’s 19, says he doesn’t care.  State, no state, his life is shit.  He chain-smokes.  If he doesn’t smoke he’ll go mad, might get violent.  He tells us that a few days ago his younger brother tried to cross with his father’s agricultural crossing permit along with his own ID.  He didn’t conceal it from the soldiers but they behaved as if he’d tried to put one over on them, confiscated the permit and called the police.  He was arrested and sentenced to four months in jail.  Why is your Hebrew is so good?, I ask.  From prison, he says.  He’s already been imprisoned four times.  The first time when he was 15, where he attended school with Jews and Arabs and learned Hebrew.  He’s only 19 and has already tasted it all.


A few more banal stories that demonstrate the despotic nature of the enlightened, courteous occupation which greets you with a good morning, how are you, and dictates to the locals how to behave in their plundered land.


A. is an energetic farmer, cultivates his olive orchard, grows a few vegetables among the trees for his wives and children.  Since the end of the olive harvest the gate doesn’t open every day; he’s willing to make a long, expensive detour on his tractor to reach his land via the Tura/Shaked checkpoint – if the occupation agrees, of course.


Our acquaintance, the redhead’s son, returned to the village late and found the checkpoint closed.  He waited and waited, hoping soldiers would come through, but they didn’t.  He returned to his uncle’s house in Umm Reihan.  The following day the occupation’s soldiers confiscated his documents and sent him to the DCO to renew them.  So he’ll learn not to be late.


One of the people who cross all the time is handicapped and uses a cane.  He says every time he goes through the soldiers interrogate him, ask him where he’s going (limping).  How can he work, considering his physical condition?


Another resident with an agricultural crossing permit and also a permit to work in Israel is permitted to cross only through the distant Jalameh checkpoint.  His Israeli work permit was recently taken away; all his attempts to learn why haven’t been successful.  He went to the DCO, they told him everything was OK, they don’t know why the person at the checkpoint took his permit.  There’s no one who can help him.


One of the people crossing brought along a small camping gas balloon so he can make coffee.  The occupation soldiers decided that it’s not possible to bring in a small, dangerous camping gas balloon; they relented only after the DCO representative intervened.


State or no state - the occupation is the big winner!


07:30  We leave after more than 100 people go through.


07:35  Tura-Shaked checkpoint

Farmers and laborers cross at this hour from the West Bank to the seam zone.  A few white-collar workers cross to the West Bank – bank clerks.  The occupation routine.  Nothing is new!


07:50 – 08:15  Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint

The checkpoint’s management staff has changed:  Sharon is leaving, Charlie replaces him.  Tali replaces Mahdi at the DCO.

Crossing goes quickly, with no delays.  People working in the industrial zone near the Shaked settlement await transportation to the factories.  They sit on the ground because there are no benches.


A young resident of the West Bank surprises us with his literary Hebrew, which he taught himself.  He tells us about customs in Arab society, wants to marry a girl he’s in love with but she doesn’t know.  God forbid she should know.  He needs NIS 15,000 for a bride-price, must build a house and ask her parents for her hand.  He has no money.  Nor a job.  Nor is his health good, and he has no one to help him.  A gifted guy who’s lost.


08:15  We left   .