'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked
14:50 – An Officer of the Law
At 15:00 about 20 men, two women, and five tractors are already waiting for the checkpoint to open. The tractors are loaded with wood for cooking and heating. It is cold.
At 15:10 the soldiers arrive, open the gates, and close them again each time without locking them. Some people arrive, who had been caught entering Israel illegally on the way from Um Al Fahem to the checkpoint: tTwo women, a four-year-old girl, a two-year-old boy, and three young men. They are accompanied by an Israeli Arab who is a family member living in Um Al Fahem. The soldiers took everyone's permits, which were valid only for the seamline zone, as well as the blue Israeli ID of the Israeli Arab and his driver's license. We tried to find out when they would be sent home. The lieutenant claims that we are disturbing him at his job and that we are not allowed to stand at the gate since it is a military zone.
By 15:40 everyone except the family has passed through. Even the firewood had been allowed through as well as the used clothing, after a discussion with the military policewoman and the lieutenant. The lieutenant ordered the police to come and deal with the illegals. Meanwhile he invited the women and the children to sit in the military jeep, to keep them out of the cold. They accepted. The young men waited in the shelter next to the fence with the resident of Um Al Fahem.
Two Palestinians arrive late. The checkpoint is due to close at 15:30. The lieutenant looks at his watch, scolds them, and lets them pass. The lieutenant talks with the resident of Um Al Fahem who attempts to apologize for driving illegals. The lieutenant is not convinced. He reminds the man about abiding by the law. He is convinced that he is right and emphasizes that he has nothing against the man, but that the law must be obeyed.
The gates are locked and the soldiers and the illegals are inside, while the resident of Um AL Fahem and we are outside. The police have not arrived. We speak to the lieutenant and tell him that all they want to do is to return home, and he tells us that the law must be obeyed and he will not be a party to breaking the law.
16:20 – Another jeep arrives. The officers confer. It appears that the police will come to Shaked-Tura Checkpoint. The three young men get into the jeep and the resident of Um-Al-Fahem is invited to join them on the drive to Shaked – Tura. The man refuses. The soldiers drive along the security road inside the fence with the illegals. We invite the man from Um AL Fahem to come with us on the regular road. He goes with us as far as the junction and decided to go home without his driver's license and ID.
16:30 – Shaked – Tura Checkpoint
We don't see the illegals or the officers and police from A'anin have no idea what is going on. Unfortunately we did not ask the man from Um Al Fahem for his telephone number. The checkpoint appears as it always does: the total of technology and facilities that have been invested here are disproportionate to the small amount of traffic.
17:00 – Reihan – Barta'a, Seamline Zone Side
We descend the sleeve together with the many workers returning from their work. The people arrive at the turnstile at the entrance to the terminal. A line forms next to the inspection position. The turnstile is closed and a security officer directs people to enter the terminal as they once did, and immediately a line forms next to the inspection point inside. The other position is filled with people going to the seamline zone.
The outside turnstile opens. The security guard lets some of the people pass through it while others are directed into the terminal. It is not clear what the criteria are for who goes where.
17:20 - There are three detainees sitting on the bench inside, as it used to be once. We leave.
The entire checkpoint is lit up with colored lights – the greenery and the fake well are lit up with green lights. The bucket above the well is lit up with a pink light. A beautiful checkpoint…
Epilogue – 19:00
Our Friend Raya Z. telephoned and informed us that a friend from A'anin has called and told her that two young men had been arrested at the checkpoint.
(What about the third?) They were taken to Tura-Shaked and it is not clear where they were taken from there. She was surprised to learn that we were at A'anin at the time and I wondered what we might have done. After a half hour I spoke with Raya again and she informed me that her friend called back and said that the young men had been released. We hope that the women and children returned home earlier.