'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan, Sun 3.11.13, Morning
A'anin Checkpoint, 07:00
We arrived late because of heavy traffic, but when we arrived there were still people and tractors crossing. Children are waiting in the shelter near the checkpoint to be driven to school. A family is spreading out plastic sheets under the olive trees near the checkpoint and is beginning to harvest their olives. I walk up to them to talk. As opposed to other places I heard about, the olives here are excellent this year and I was immediately treated to a cup of pure olive oil. The family consisted of a couple and a teenager. Unfortunately any thought of purchasing olive oil from the family vanished when soldiers arrived and told me that it was illegal to purchase oil from them and they would confiscate their permits to cross the checkpoint if I had. I decided to give up the idea of purchasing olive oil because I didn't want to cause these people any harm. I obeyed this evil rule. With rules like this, there will never be peace. Perhaps that is what our government wants. Thinking about this later, as Hananya Reichman stated, "Common sense always comes along after the police." I was sorry that I had not told the soldiers that they should think about what they had told me at home, after they take off their uniforms.
07:50 – Shaked-Tura Checkpoint
The checkpoint is completely deserted and not even the soldiers are here. Perhaps they are having breakfast. The garbage container is not full, but there is a lot of litter scattered around.
Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint, 08:10
We drive past the checkpoint without going into the parking lot, which appears to be very crowded. Taxis are waiting at the top of the sleeve for passengers going to the seamline zone, but only a few people are going up the sleeve. Evidently at this hour most people have already crossed.
Yaabed-Dotan Checkpoint, 08:20
As usual the checkpoint is closed, the yellow gate that blocks the side entrance to Yaabed is locked, and as usual there is an army jeep parked across the road. Despite the fact that there has been a lot of news lately about incidents, it appears to be calm and traffic is moving. Palestinian and Israeli cars go past without being stopped. There are no delays and no one is being stopped at the checkpoint. A huge tractor which looks like a snowplow is standing at the entrance to Mevo Dotan. It is evidently being used to clear paths in the olive groves and fields. A soldier who sees me standing near the concrete blockades comes up to me and we talk about our purpose and objectives. He speaks like a yeshiva graduate and my claims that I bring based on the Mishna are met with responses, depending upon which Rabbi has made them. References to the fact that a person has the right to formulate his or her own opinion are left hanging in the air.
When we passed Reihan-Barta'a Checkpoint on the way back we saw that ten trucks were still waiting to be checked.