'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tayba-Rummana, Tura-Shaked
06:00 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint (regional terminal, open daily)
Very many Palestinians wait for transportation to work in the upper parking lot. From time to time the revolving gate in the lower parking lot stops turning, apparently to regulate the rate in which people go through. These are people who have something to get up for in the morning.
06:00 ‘Anin checkpoint (an agricultural crossing, open twice a week)
The soldiers arrive on time and five minutes later people begin crossing. Five farmers on tractors went through and about twenty more on foot, including a number of women heading to a family gathering. We met Yassin who enjoyed the “sweets” the occupation provides to those 55 and older: he can go through the checkpoint using only his ID. They offer presents; why shouldn’t he take them?
A young man from ‘Anin tells us about the family’s olive grove very near the checkpoint. Someone cut down five trees. They suspect the hooligans from Ein Sahala. He asks us to help him obtain a crossing permit to a checkpoint open daily so he can come to work his grove a bit and protect the olives. He’s ready to relinquish his right to cross through this checkpoint.
07:15 Tura-Shaked checkpoint (“fabric of life” checkpoint, open daily)
A small, congested checkpoint, crowded with all possible unnecessary apparatus. The soldiers’ garbage overflows the bins. Apparently the IDF has no budget for someone to clean. Some teachers from Jenin cross to proctor test-takers in the school in Umm Reihan. They remember bygone days when they could travel unhindered around Israel. A small boy is moving around inside a car whose motor is running. The driver arrives. No, he’s not worried that something will happen to the boy. “We have too many children, don’t we?” he says cynically, “One more, one less, what difference does it make, right?” And without missing a beat he tells us about a new procedure in which the vehicle is no longer listed on its owner’s documents; all the vehicles and their owners are listed on a separate page. “Today there’s a list, tomorrow the soldiers lose it. They don’t allow the car to go through. Is that fair?”
08:05 Tayibe-Rummaneh checkpoint (an agricultural crossing, open twice a week)
We were five minutes late but the Border Police arrived on time. Relatively few people went through; two were turned back because they didn’t appear in the list of those who’d returned through here on Monday. That identifies them as having been illegally present in Israel and cancels their permit. They must obtain new permits at Salem. An elderly couple from Rummaneh are on their way to Umm el Fahm on foot to visit their son and daughter-in-law. The woman, handicapped, walks with difficulty. We gave them a ride to their son and were invited for a little coffee with them and their daughter-in-law. In 1967-69 he’d been a policeman in Jerusalem. Those were the days.