'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Thu 24.1.13, Afternoon
Translation: Naomi Gal
An exhausting and infuriating shift: ‘Anin Checkpoint was opened belatedly. At Reihan-Barta’a Checkpoint there was a constant crowded queue.
14:50 'Anin Checkpoint
About 20 people and four tractors are already waiting. Three people are praying on the side.
15:00 the checkpoint is closed, there are no soldiers. We called the DCO; they said they would notify the territorial brigade and they will send the soldiers. After a while we called again, they told us that the territorial brigadeinsured that soldiers will arrive soon. We called the bregade, they said they are up to date, there was a stone throwing incident nearbyand the soldiers are on their way to the checkpoint. Meanwhile more people arrive at the checkpoint.
15:30 the soldiers arrived, half an hour late, and opened the gates of the checkpoint.
One man told us that he has a special permit to cross at Shaked –Turah Checkpoint, when the ‘Anin Checkpoint is closed (this agricultural checkpoint opens only twice a week). Despite the distance - an hour and a half drive and 150 shekels for the fuel, still it is important for him to properly tend the 120 dunams (about 30 acres) of olives he owns.
16:00 everybody had crossed, including a family with a veiled mother and two toddlers. Everyone, including several children who were there, waited quietly and patiently. This is hard to grasp.
A rather older reserve soldier says that they arrived late to the checkpoint because children in Araka threw stones at the fence.
16:10 Shaked – Turah Checkpoint
There are all kinds of traffic lights and signs inside the checkpoint but no traffic. One woman crosses into the Seam Zone.
16:25 Riehan – Barta’a Checkpoint (seam zone side)
A woman-Instructor from Givat Haviva (a Jewish-Arab center for culture and education activities), leads a group of students from abroad, and asks us to tell them about MachsomWatch .
16:40 two windows are open at the terminal and there is no queue. This only lasts a few moments. One window closes because of a problem and immediately a line is formed. Every now and then they open the second carousel for workers who return from work in Israel and they pass quickly and with no checking. The passage of owners of work permits in the Seam Zone is slow. Most of the time there is a queue of about 50 people in front of the carousel at the entrance to the terminal. The people are tired and angry. We address one of the guards, he says that there is a hitch and “there must be a line.” We call CH, the head of the Checkpoint. He'd check what goes on.
The line is still in place.
One man tells us that yesterday morning they fired tear gas at the people at Irtach Checkpoint. He does not know why. His eyes were hurt. (In the morning they cross to Israel from Irtach Checkpoint [centeral west bank] and in the afternoon they have to return home from Reihan Checkpoint [north-west west bank.)
17:30 once there is hardly any queue we leave and go up to the parking lot. Facing us workers and families continue to arrive, going down to the terminal. We fear that a queue is forming yet again, but we do not go back to check.