How long must one wait for the Border Police and the Bedouin unit of the Israeli army to open the checkpoints? Endlessly.
We arrived at the Anin “Gate” 214 at 15:00. This is an agricultural checkpoint opened twice a week for farmers and residents of the Palestinian village of Anin who have been separated from their own farm lands by the separation fence. About 10 people, young and elderly and 4 tractors were waiting to cross, and all showed various signs of fatigue. There was no trace of the soldiers. After 15 minutes went by we called the DCO asking them to hurry things up, and were told they were busy with some “security matter”. “Something along the fence”. We received the same answer the next time we called, and the next. We left at 15:50, the Bedouin unit soldiers arrived at 16:30, namely one and a half hours late.
If this army cannot follow its own schedule in peacetime, what will happen in a military emergency?
We arrived at the next agricultural “gate” (checkpoint) – Tayibe Roumana gate 154 – below Umm Al Fahm to the east, at 16:00, its official opening time. Usually it is operated by Border Policemen. They too are often late, so obviously the army does not take these agricultural gates seriously. Today they arrived two hours late. We were already on our way home, but remained in the picture by phone. The DCO woman-soldier, patient to an extent, finally took initiative and sent Bedouin unit soldiers there instead of the Border Police. The Bedouin unit men create a hostile atmosphere. One of them told us (on the phone) that their delay was caused by security activity along the fence, and yes – no problem, they (the Palestinians) can wait an hour or two, “what’s the problem?”
On Monday morning, April 25, 2016, the Border Policemen were one hour late again. The reason given was “new soldiers”, but apparently the army cannot keep the schedule it has set for itself for opening these gates.