Barta'a-Reihan, Tayba-Rummana, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
06:20-07:00 A’anin checkpoint
About 70 people crossed. Two weeks ago dozens of A’anin residents had their crossing permits confiscated because the computer indicated that although they’d exited here to the seam zone in the morning they hadn’t come back through here in the afternoon – in other words, they were in Israel illegally. In fact, many do prefer to return through the Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint, which is farther away, because it’s open later than A’anin. A’anin is open twice a week for holders of agricultural or employment crossing permits. They’re unable to use that permit to go through Barta’a-Reihan in the morning; otherwise they could access their lands every day. But it’s always possible to return through Barta’a. And that creates a mess for the computers. If the Barta’a-Reihan computer was linked to the one at A’anin it would be possible to see when those “in Israel illegally” returned to the West Bank. But the Israeli hi-tech empire can’t do that, so soldiers at the agricultural checkpoints make decisions according to their gut feelings, while the staff at the Reihan terminal only follow the “rules.”
There’s a short school vacation; we see many children accompanying their fathers to the olive groves. They’re pruning trees in preparation for the next harvest season.
After the crossing ended the commander, Lt. S., approached us and amicably explained things we’ve known and seen since he was in kindergarten. He also gave us his phone number and told us to call him whenever we had a concern about the soldiers. He doesn’t have anything to do with crossing permits or other civilian issues; they’re handled by the Civil Administration or the DCO.
07:10-07:30 Tura-Shaked checkpoint
The checkpoint, notwithstanding its profusion of unnecessary electrified installations, fenced corridors, sheds and buildings operates without any apparent problems. Who goes through? Someone with a permit. Can everyone wishing to cross here obtain a permit, or go through in their car? No. But that’s their own, non-apparent, problem.
07:40 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint
It’s operating, efficient, crowded with people and cars. A line of vehicles laden with agricultural produce waits on the road from Jenin, on their way from the West Bank to the seam zone. The merchandise is completely wrapped in plastic which will be removed at the inspection station. I recall the period when only five cartons per vehicle were allowed through, and our desperate efforts to annul that evil decree.
07:45-07:55 Yabed-Dothan checkpoint
No soldiers. People cross freely.
The metal gate on the side road to Yabed is closed. Earthen berms along the road prevent people from taking shortcuts to the village over dirt roads.
08:10-08:40 Taiybe-Rummaneh checkpoint
About 25 people crossed this morning. Border Police soldiers operate this crossing. People come from the villages of Taiybe and Rummaneh, east of the fence, cross the security road, approach the concrete barrier, are interrogated, show their documents, empty their pockets and are then frisked manually because there’s no magnemometer.
Where are you going? To my land. Where’s the land? There. What’s the phone charger for? My uncle charges my phone while I’m working.
Two young men were sent back because they weren’t able to say where their land was. We asked people coming through what’s happening. OK, OK, they say and hurry away. One says – things are OK when you’re here. Another says there are problems but is afraid to say more. Here, too, after people have gone through the senior Border Police soldier approaches us and politely explains what we’ve known since he’s been in kindergarten – about the problems with people in Israel illegally and the efforts of the security forces to disrupt their plans.