'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Mon 1.7.13, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
14:50 A’anin checkpoint (agricultural crossing)
Two male and two female soldiers at the upper checkpoint. It opens at 15:00. Farmers, some with tractors, older and younger, and a few women, all wait at the checkpoint to return to the village. One of the female soldiers pages through a notebook, looking for information about those crossing. The soldiers conduct a painstaking inspection; rummage roughly through the bags, commenting: …What’s this in the bag? What has it to do with farming? Why aren’t you wearing a hat? You’ll get sunstroke…Where were you today? Why the soap and towel? They register people by hand, sometimes coordinating it with someone over the phone.
People wait at a distance and approach the soldier only after he signals to them. The redheaded farmer arrives on a tractor and crosses slightly over the line. They rebuke him: What’s the matter – haven’t you any patience? What’s the hurry? I said stop – so stop! An older tractor driver arrives. They ask: What have you here? This is what you bring back from the field?
A woman arrives, carrying meat in a bag. For Ramadan, she explains in Arabic, trying her luck, for the children, so they’ll have something to eat. You can’t bring meat through here, says the soldier. She doesn’t argue. She goes back and gives the bag to someone.
A 12-year-old boy arrives; he came with the redhead. Both say they left this morning from A’anin, but the boy, of course, doesn’t have an ID card and the female soldier insists that one parent must come to the checkpoint with his own ID in which the boy is listed. The redhead promises to bring the mother or father, and sets out. A few minutes later the female soldier changes her mind and lets the boy through to A’anin.
15:30 A soldier runs after a woman, shouting: Ma’am, ma’am – stop! (we don’t know why). The female soldiers move to lock the gate next to us and a conversation develops. They resolutely believe they’re here to protect the Jewish localities in the area…I correct them: the settlements. They say: There’s no such thing as settlements! It has all been part of the Holy Land of Israel for 2000 years.
16:00 Tura-Shaked checkpoint
Quiet; the heat is oppressive. Almost no one crossing at this hour. After ten dreary minutes we noticed that the tattered Israeli flag had been replaced with one less tattered. Relieved, we continued to Barta’a.
16:20 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint
Seven pickup trucks carrying agricultural produce wait on the road before the vehicle checkpoint. The same number was there when we left. I go through the fenced corridor to the terminal together with many tired people returning from work. About 200 people went through in 40 minutes. The crossing proceeds quickly, there are no delays, the revolving gate gets stuck occasionally. More people than usual cross to the seam zone, mostly families with children. Perhaps because of Ramadan, which begins soon.
Back up the fenced corridor. A police car at the entrance. What’s the problem? Someone got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt. NIS 250! How many days must someone work to earn that amount?