'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Sun 17.11.13, Afternoon

Observers: Ruti T., Hasida S. (reporting) Driver: Khouri Translator: Charles K.



15:30  A’anin checkpoint

It’s raining.  Men, women and children stand under the canopy, wet, some around fires of burning branches.  A small child shivers with cold beside the fire and an old woman in a yellow dress, wet from the rain, tries to warm herself; sometimes, when more branches are added, the fire flares up impressively.

A jeep with soldiers arrives from the checkpoint.  They open the gate, lock it and drive off without saying a word.  People talk to each other:  Perhaps they’ll open at 15:45, perhaps at 16:00.  The rain has stopped but it’s still cold.  Someone says that tomorrow the gate will go back on the regular schedule, opening twice a week, but they haven’t finished olive-picking.  Unlike reports from other areas, we’re told the harvest here has been good. 


A military ambulance arrives about ten minutes later.  A female soldier opens the gate; she’s a physician.  Did something happen?  To a soldier?  She says they treat everyone who needs treatment, including Palestinians, but they’re now returning to the base.  The gate is locked again and the ambulance drives off to its base. 


We began telephoning the DCO, to all the numbers we had, but no one answered or we were told we’d reached the wrong place.  Finally I really got annoyed and told the soldier – people here are freezing, drenched, and you can’t walk to the next room to tell them the checkpoint is locked?  The soldier acceded.


In any case, the gate opened at four; the soldiers were jumpy.  Two female soldiers stationed themselves behind the concrete barriers and two male soldiers came toward the gate.  The women and children went through first, as is usual among the Palestinians, in groups of five as instructed by the soldiers.  The female soldiers detained the old woman in the wet yellow dress for a longer time.  Another woman went through grandly after being inspected, a sack of olives upright on her head, down the path to the checkpoint’s exit to the village.  After the women were inspected it was the men’s turn.  They had to go through one by one.


Ruti began photographing and a female soldier was sent to stop her.  She asked for the camerainfo-icon but Ruti told her it was her phone and she won’t hand it over.  The soldier threatened to call the police and, as if by magic, a police jeep appeared from the fenced security road and disappeared.  The men continued crossing slowly and we left.


We managed to see the sunset.  Sunrises and sunsets at A’anin are always so lovely.


16:30  Tura checkpoint (Shaked)

The checkpoint is open.  People dribble through in both directions.  It’s funny to watch people getting out of cars and walking across the special pedestrian crossing to the fenced corridor.  But perhaps it wasn’t exactly a case of obeying the law, but because the car came to a stop on the pedestrian crossing.  The driver and passengers followed the usual procedure and went to the inspection room.  Then the driver returned to the vehicle, the light turned green, he drove the car to be inspected and the passengers returned to the car on the other side of the third gate.


16:45  Barta’a checkpoint (Reihan)

An increasing flow of men through the fenced corridor to the terminal.  All go through the revolving gate that doesn’t stop for a moment.  Most are returning from work in Israel; they don’t delay and exit to the West Bank.  The rest, who work in Barta’a, are quickly inspected at one of the windows or the biometric scanner and exit to the lower parking lot for their rides home.  Those working in Israel continue to complain that, although their jobs are near this checkpoint, they have to cross via Irtach in the morning, near Kfar Saba, where it’s very congested, slow and difficult.  What’s the magic secret that prevents someone living in Yabed, for example, who works in Hadera or in other nearby localities, from crossing here in the morning as well?  Is the unstated reason to make it more difficult for those working in Israel?