'Anin, Reihan, Mon 15.9.08, Afternoon

Ricki Y. and Rutie T.
14:50 Aaneen checkpoint
The gate opens at exactly 15:00.
About 30 people aare waiting to cross, some of them riding 7 tractors loaded with junk, mostly plastic items. Pedestrians' passage is conducted lazily.
Matching the names of returning  people with those who have left in the morning is extremely slow.
A tractor towing a small wagon with two goats on it goes through swiftly.

At 15:15 another tractor loaded with yellow plastic containers crosses the gate, following inspection of the papers it is sent outside the gate. The driver says that this has never happened to him before.
A very young soldier apparently identifies with his role, thus yelling at the people crowding at the gate with short, sharp syllables, using a tone of voice used at times with mentally impaired people : Move on, move on, he orders children to get off the tractor, :"One by one, you understand"?
One of the soldiers tells us that passage of junk is not allowed at this checkpoint. "This is an agriculture crossing". We're trying to advocate for people who try to make a living after they were denied their right to cross daily to cultivate their land for their livelihood.

At 15:40 we begin negotiating with the DCO.

At 16:30  One of the tractors which were detained for an hour behind the gate (it carried mostly sawdust bags) unloads its cargo down the olive grove. The  driver goes back to the gate, his papers are once more inspected, and then he drives through quickly.

Unfortunately  we find out later that  the sawdust is meant for chickens'  coops and for padding the soil; clearly an agriculture purposes.
We explain that to the soldier, who proudly admits that it was his own initiative not to allow passage of the cargo.
We wait with the other 4 tractors loaded wth junk.

At 16:35  the long awaited permit finally arrives and the tractors go through with their cargo. We are told via the telephone that the permit is valid for one day only and it is unclear whether it'll be valid in the future.
The gate which is due to close at 15:30 is locked at 16:40, and a burdensome silence is in place.
We couldn't but wonder what would have happened if we were not there? and what would happen on Thursday afternoon?

16:55 - Rihan-Barta'a checkpoint
The upper car park area is vacant of people and vehicles. Two vans and a private car arrive. coming out of the vehicles are workers rushing home to break the Ramadan fast. On the other side of the turnstile there are six people. Whoever arrives, goes through swiftly.
At the lower car park area we see many vans still waiting for passengers.
The vehicles' inspection post on the other side of the road is vacant.
17:20 - We leave.