'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tayba-Rummana
On line to the revolving gate at the terminal palestinian parking lot
This is one of the two major checkpoints in the northern West Bank (the second is Jalameh) where individuals, vehicles and merchandise cross between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In 2007 operation of the checkpoint was transferred to a civilian security firm and our immediate response to the “civilianization” was mostly pessimistic, because that step was seen as an irreversible act of occupation. Not that the operation of checkpoints by soldiers holds out any hope, but in practice it turns out the civilian company operates the checkpoint and the crossing much more efficiently than the soldiers.
More and more fortunate people go through this checkpoint after finding work in the seam zone and in Israel. Evidence of their luck is the huge number of new vehicles filling the parking lot. At this hour Palestinians in their vehicles or in organized transport flow to the lower parking lot and hurry to the revolving gate leading to the terminal. The revolving gate stops occasionally for a few minutes in order to control the rate at which people go through the terminal. Fifty people go through each time. People continually join the line, which keeps moving. Before we left, near 07:00, more people were going through than joining the line.
We heard complaints about the great and cumbersome bureaucracy: people told us their permits expired without prior notice before the Jewish New Year holidays, and because the DCL was closed during the entire holiday period they had a forced vacation from work of more than 15 days. Even were they to go to the DCL today they wouldn’t obtain a new permit on the spot. One, W., we’d met at the checkpoint when he was ten years old selling coffee from a thermos, and grew up before our eyes over the years into a 22 year old man who even has a shiny new car. He hasn’t worked for more than two weeks because he can’t reach his workplace and the DCL is closed.
07:00-07:45 A’anin, agricultural checkpoint (214)
The checkpoint, A’anin village in the background
According to the DCL, the olive harvest began officially yesterday, which means the checkpoint will be open daily, three times a day. But meanwhile it’s open only twice a day and we see no harvesters or olives. An acquaintance said the village received about 500 harvest permits; others complained that not all family members (of an age and physically capable of working) obtained the hoped-for permits, though last year they certainly received them. We referred the latter to Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual that deals with Palestinian complaints vis-à-vis authorities such as the Civil Administration. These are the same complaints heard every year during the olive harvest season. The harsh policy continues to make life difficult.
More people crossed than usual, including women and children.
Residents of A’anin are most friendly and welcoming to us, without exception, which makes us feel good and is encouraging.
08:00-08:15 Tayibeh-Rummaneh agricultural checkpoint (154)
A particularly rigorous inspection of a tractor
The Border Police soldiers operating this checkpoint arrived today on time.
About 15 people and two tractors crossed in 15 minutes. The tractors were more carefully inspected than usual by one of the Border Police soldiers. Another, who came to lock the gate we stood beside, said that the last tractor driver who went through told him he’s the only one among those crossing who’s really headed for his olive trees… What do we think? He told us to be careful.