'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked
Translator: Charles K.
06:15 A’anin checkpoint
The tractors were among the first to go through today. People on foot followed, fewer than on other days. They say soldiers continue to confiscate crossing permits from everyone listed as having exited through this checkpoint in the morning but not returning through it to the village in the afternoon. We already reported that many farmers risk losing their permit by returning to go through the Barta’a checkpoint – the A’anin checkpoint closes at 15:30, while Barta’a is open until 21:00. Applying for a new permit – their punishment – takes a long time and is a nerve-wracking process.
Mayada, a new member, joined our shift. She’s a resident of one of the villages in Wadi Ara. People stopped to talk with her in Arabic, told her how difficult their lives were. And how sad. Come to the village, said one, you won’t believe it – lovely homes, well-organized, with everything you need, lacking nothing – except for one thing: food. We have no food. We can’t earn a living. His son recently graduated from university and has no chance of finding an appropriate job – or any job. Before the intifada many people worked in Umm el Fahm, the nearby Arab city – primarily in construction – or in central Israel. They earned enough, made a decent living. That’s all gone.
07:00 Tura checkpoint
People quickly go through.
07:15 Barta’a checkpoint
We drove down to the lower parking lot, which is actually located in the West Bank. We forgot that Mayada isn’t allowed to go through this checkpoint in any direction. We met someone who awaited us in the parking lot, spoke with him for five minutes and started back up to the seam zone. The parking lot was jammed with cars. People coming from the West Bank went through quickly; we saw three vehicles, loaded with agricultural produce, waiting to cross and be inspected. We reached the booth – the security guard saw Mayada – an Arab! OMG! Wow! Action! An argument arose, and we tried to speak calmly, sensibly. Things heated up, unnecessarily. The two young female security guards who were "handling" us overdid it when they spoke to us angrily (as if a crime had been committed) and excelled particularly in their rudeness. They unnecessarily raised their voices (we’re not especially hard of hearing), unnecessarily repeated their main point over and over again (we got it the first time), that an Israeli Arab isn’t allowed to enter the West Bank through this checkpoint, only via Jalameh (Gilbo’a). Z., the checkpoint manager, didn’t answer when Neta called his cellphone (a number he himself had given to members of MachsomWatch), but sent N., the duty manager, who gave Neta this message: Stop phoning him or he’ll file a complaint about harassment. N., less rude than the women but still unnecessarily aggressive, interrogated Mayada – who is she, what is she? She showed him her ID card and employee ID (she works as a registered nurse in a government hospital) and said: “I’m a public employee, just like you…”
Finally, after about 45 minutes of mutual accusations, they agreed that if Mayada isn’t allowed to enter the West Bank from here, she’s also not allowed to continue to the Jalameh checkpoint, at the northern edge of the West Bank. So they let her cross with us.