'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tayba-Rummana, Tura-Shaked
In the course of half an hour three military vehicles, coming down the security road, went through the checkpoint, which remained locked. People wait calmly on the other side. The delay in opening the checkpoint and disregard for their rights isn’t surprising. We call the DCL: where are the soldiers, and why don’t they open the checkpoint on time? The response: Everything’s under control.
06:30 The first person crosses half an hour late - the redhead who usually comes through on his tractor. Today it’s being repaired. Two tractors and some people on foot follow. Soldiers inspect a young man, tell him to turn around, lift his shirt (we can’t hear, but see the soldier motion with his finger). They send him back to the village. An older man carries a blue plastic bag. The soldier pats him down, the man shows him what’s in the bag. He’s allowed through. Another young man is sent back home. A third is detained off to the side. Consultation. Eventually he’s allowed through. We asked what the problems were; they said one tried to use his wife’s permit. Another’s permit had expired. The third, according to the list, hadn’t returned to the village in the afternoon. A cool wind blows. Wasps circle us. The occupation has no problems.
The checkpoint opens 15 minutes late, which doesn’t bother anyone. Those coming through don’t complain to us – the soldiers who come late, and us, who aren’t much help, are part of their routine. School vacation has begun; the human landscape on this side of the checkpoint is missing the pupils and the teachers.
A dense wave of people crossing from the West Bank to the seam zone fills the checkpoint area. Two windows are open in the terminal. Everyone coming through is a lucky holder of a job and a valid permit.
Border Police soldiers are supposed to be here at this hour and let people through from the eastern side of the checkpoint, but there’s no representative of the occupying forces on site.
08:05 A military vehicle resembling a paddy wagon goes through and…drives on.
08:10 A tractor smoothes the powdery surface of the track parallel to the security road, passes by, returns again (it’s an old photo).
08:20 The DCL tells us (as they did last time), “the forces will arrive in a few minutes…”
08:40 A military vehicle arrives, two soldiers get out - Force A - then the vehicle leaves. The two soldiers stretch and…sit. The next time we telephone a patient, polite officer explains at length that the forces came by mistake to this checkpoint at 7 AM, an hour early. What we managed to understand from this whole story is that rectifying the error takes them a very long time.
08:50 The DCL’s white vehicle arrives. That’s Force B, whose job is to supervise the Palestinians who cross, on behalf of the Civil Administration. Since the crossing hasn’t started, they don’t leave their vehicle either and the checkpoint remains locked.
08:55 The DCL officer (?) promises that Force C will soon arrive and the checkpoint will open. Why this indifference to the Palestinians’ schedules? We ask; the officer becomes slightly less patient: Why talk that way about the soldiers?
09:15 The third force is here! The crossing begins 1 ¼ hours late. As usual, the red tractor goes through first. Then a mother, a daughter and a little four-year-old boy, and then the rest of those on foot. None of them will complain to the occupation forces, express any anger, or insist on their right to cross at the appointed hour. The occupation forces, for their part, show not a trace of embarrassment at arriving so late. It’s doubtful any of them apologized or will make an effort to arrive promptly next time.