'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked
5:40 Rihan-Narta'a checkpoint
The upper car park is full of workers who had just crossed the checkpoint and are now waiting for transportation to work. A non-stop stream of people comes up from the lower car park. A. tells us that there is an unusual number of soldiers on site today and every vehicle goes under inspection.
A truck loaded with crates of vegetables, covered with plastic sheets, is waiting for the opening of the merchandise checkpoint. Drivers complain about the long waiting period, more than an hour and fear that in the upcoming hot summer days the vegetables might rot. They ask that the checkpoint would open earlier. Others complain once again that the checkpoint opens too late on Fridays; we direct them to the Center for The Protection of the Individual.
By the gate in the lower car park there is a short line of workers who enter the terminal at a good pace (groups of 50 at a time). Inside the terminal all 5 windows are open all week long, and they open early in the morning.
6:05 The car park fills up . Drivers park close to each other, and they rush to the line in front of the terminal. Within a short while the line gets longer. People crowed up. Some carry coolers with food. I wonder, who had prepared their food? Do they too have a mother, a wife? A sister? They look at us through the thick smoke of cigarettes. The site is quiet despite the many people inside. All come closer to the turnstile – a green light and a group of 50 proceeds. The red light stops the turning of the turnstile at once and people are in danger of being struck by it. The rubber that covers the arms of the turnstile probably serve as a buffer.
Most of those crossing are young people (I don't think they've heard of the "Y" generation) and I wonder how do they feel, what's on their minds. This road is all fences, road blocks, sleeve walkways – has this become a habit? Do the work permits - hat mean money – blunt humiliation? Iyad, the volunteer usher, estimates that 2,500 people go out in the morning. Passage time at the checkpoint is about 20 minutes.
We, together with the DCO's vehicle, wait for the soldiers. At 06:38 another DCO car arrives with soldiers who open the checkpoint. At 06:45 passage begins. Inspection of permits is done from the DCO car.53 individuals had gone through, as well as five tractors and three children on a forced vacation from school. Most walked through and stopped by the checkpoint to greet us in Hebrew and in Arabic. Some exchange small talk with us .
The checkpoint closes when the last person over at 07:15. This looked like a scene from absurd theatre; an early morning hour, chilly and cloudy, workers cross the fence to their fields on the other side, and three elderly Israeli women, as if they come from another world, greet them.
Children of the Bedouins who live at the bottom of the checkpoint, and who attend school at Um-el-Rihan, are waiting for transportation to school, which despite all is open. On the checkpoint's gate thre is a yellow sign that says nothing. The banality of the fences, of the checkpoints, of the occupation.