ברטעה-ריחן, טורה-שקד, טייבה-רומנה, עאנין
Northern West Bank, 17.4.14, morning
Observers: Neta Golan, Shula Bar (reporting and photographing)
Translator: Charles K.
An axiom – No Arabs - no terror (in Hebrew).
The first tractor goes through ‘Anin checkpoint.
A line at Barta’a checkpoint.
Hollyhocks on the way to the Tayba-Rummana checkpoint.
06:00 ‘Anin checkpoint
Mist surrounds us. The checkpoint opens late; people begin crossing only at 06:10. About 15 people and four tractors went through. Today’s a good day, they joke mockingly – no computer, no record, nothing. Why so few crossing? Because many permits were withdrawn. “They slept on the other side,” explained the locals, referring to those who left through this checkpoint in the morning but didn’t return through it in the afternoon as they should have. Either they returned to ‘Anin at night or the following day through the Barta’a checkpoint. “Shabachim,” the occupation calls them [“people in Israel illegally”]. Most of them are young men who don’t care, who enjoy tempting fate/the occupier. Older men don’t risk it; they don’t want the headaches involved in obtaining a new permit and return when they’re supposed to.
06:30 Everyone has gone through; soldiers lock the checkpoint gates.
06:40 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint
When we arrived there was no line at the electric gate to the terminal in the lower parking lot on the Palestinian side. Fifteen minutes later the crossing bogged down; soon people crowded around the yellow gate. Their number increased as those lucky enough to have jobs on the Palestinian side of Barta’a or in Israel emerged from each arriving taxi. A medical student who lives on the Israeli side of Barta’a and travels daily to Al Najah University in Nablus complained about the daily humiliation of the biometric inspection (fingerprinting). “What am I, a criminal? I volunteer for Magen David Adom in Israel and am also a medical volunteer on the West Bank. I don’t deserve to be humiliated every day.”
07:00 The crossing resumed; the line almost vanished.
07:05 Again they stopped the crossing. Again a line formed. When people began crossing again we left.
07:15 On the way to the Ya’bed-Dotan checkpoint we brought clothes to Juma’s family in Emricha. The checkpoint was open; no soldiers were present.
07:35 Tura-Shaked checkpoint. Open; few crossed at this hour.
07:55 Tayba-Rummana checkpoint.
This is an agricultural checkpoint that opens twice a week for farmers from Tayba and Rummana who have been
prevented by the fence from accessing their lands near Umm el Fahm. People began crossing five minutes before the official opening time. We parked off to the side and stood next to the gate. Border Police soldiers operate this checkpoint; today they didn’t allow us to stand near them (although this is unquestionably Israeli territory) because we interfere with their work. Their orders: “Move back to that pole.” In fact, four of them were the ones interfering with their own work, abandoned their positions and spent 15 minutes trying to convince us they were the law. The fifth, who remained in position, didn’t let two young men cross. We left only when everyone had gone through. We’ll file a complaint.