Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan, Thu 10.10.13, Morning
06:00 (Palestine Time 0500) A’anin checkpoint.
The checkpoint open according to Israel time. People begin going through only at 06:20 even though the soldiers arrived on time – they forgot the key to the seam zone gate. That’s not the first time this has happened, and probably won’t be the last.
About 70 people crossed this morning; rumor has it that 1000 agricultural permits have been issued. Not everyone crossing today was on their way to the fields. The olive harvest begins next week; then we’ll see many more people at the checkpoint.
Ahmad Y. goes through on foot. His tractor died but that doesn’t keep him from his large, well-tended olive grove. He says that a DCO officer spitefully prevents him from going through the Tura-Shaked checkpoint (on foot or with a tractor) which is open every day so he can reach his land trapped in the seam zone every day. He knows of another farmer from A’anin who’d received this desireable permit. Fifteen minutes later Ahmad returns, very upset: there’s clear evidence that olives have been stolen from his grove! If I could come daily, no one would have dared steal from me!, he says. Cows from Ein Sahala (in Israel) used to wander around his grove, damaging the trees with no one to stop them. He’s sure the thieves are his compatriots; he guesses they came from Umm el Fahm.
Another man says, angrily, upset, that his 25 year old son was suddenly not allowed to go through the checkpoint; no one knows why. I need him for the harvest, he complains. Now he won’t get a crossing permit.
07:10 Tura-Shaked checkpoint (Photo: Congestion at the Tura checkpoint)
We can’t get used to how many completely unnecessary installations and fences and signs fill the area of this small checkpoint. It resembles a crowded storeroom containing a mishmash of vehicle and pedestrian signposts, evidence of waste and stupidity. Pupils and teachers haven’t yet arrived; they have another hour. Most people going through are on their way to work. The crossing operates fluidly; we heard no complaints.
08:15 Yabed-Dothan checkpoint (Photo: A metal barrier blocks a side road to Yabed, punishment for stone-throwing)
No soldiers, traffic flows freely in both directions – despite reports that soldiers at the checkpoint sometimes turn back vehicles for various reasons. The side road to Yabed is blocked by a formidable iron barrier.
08:40 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint
A line of 14 commercial vehicles carrying agricultural produce and other items waits to be inspected and cross to Barta’a.