'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Mon 24.6.13, Afternoon

Anna N.S., Khouri (driving)


Translator:  Charles K.


14:45  A’anin checkpoint

We arrived before it was scheduled to open.  Four farmers on tractors wait with us and the rest slowly arrive – mothers will children and some young men.  Everyone seeks shade.  Used plastic furniture that the soldiers didn’t allow into the village has been discarded in the grove next to the checkpoint.  An oppressive silence around us.  As we wait, the same thoughts recur – the people returning tired from a day of work live in shooting or spitting distance from the checkpoint, they can see their village but can’t reach it because they’re not the ones who decide when they’re able to leave and when they may return from one area of Palestine to another area of Palestine.  I can imagine what would happen if Israeli citizens had to wait at their doorsteps for the army to arrive and let them go home.


15:00  The soldiers arrive and the crossing begins.  Checking documents, rummaging through belongings.  A young man arrives, walking hesitantly.  He’s sick; he wants to go home.  The soldiers interview him, search his pockets, tell him to sit on the bench.  A Hummer with soldiers arrives, by chance or not; its soldiers also interrogate him, tell him to wait, consult, and ten minutes later send him to his home in A’anin.  The young man stumbles with difficulty toward the exit gate; a tractor that’s been inspected passes and gives him a ride.


15:35  Seven tractors and a number of people have gone through.


15:45  Tura-Shaked.

Few cross at this time.  A horse cart and driver and a few children come to and from the solitary house to Tura.  A number of young women return from Jenin, then more people.  Few cross in the opposite direction, from the West Bank to the seam zone.


16:10  Barta’a-Reihan

We want to give parcels of clothing to a woman awaiting us in the Palestinian parking lot.  The driver isn’t willing to go there because the previous time he was inspected and interrogated only because he was an Israeli Arab.  I take out all the parcels myself; guards escort me aloud:  What’s she carrying…just clothing…ah – do you know her?...she’s from Watch…she’s returning…

The tension eases, a sigh of relief…

Laborers arrive and enter the terminal quickly.  All is quiet and calm, and perhaps tired.  No congestion.  One window is open, which is enough at this hour.  More than 200 people crossed during the past half hour.

On my way back through the fenced corridor I’m surprised to discover that two granite benches have been placed in an L-shape at one of the corners.  Excitedly, I photograph the checkpoint manager’s generosity.  A security guard shows up asking what I photographed.  The benches.  He’s surprised.  Why?  I calmly explain:  So people can see how considerate you are.  I didn’t have time to describe the bright future I foresee here – a stand selling coffee and cola, chocolate-covered wafers for every laborer before he returns home, a place for him to sit and rest in a gentle evening breeze, a glorious landscape…

17:00  We left.