'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Sun 30.11.08, Afternoon
Translated by D. Kalekin
A command-car and many soldiers surrarounding it are making a tremendous noise. A loud voice is heard over the radio. A single van is at the gate. Its driver says that he has been waiting for half an hour. Between the gates a man on a donkey is waiting. A car on the way to the seamline zone is being inspected. It leaves at 13:56. The rider on the donkey is inspected at 14:00 and goes through in a minute. We can see three cars waiting on the other side of the CP. Between the gates a young girl student of about 15 is waiting shyly for her father, who has gone to bring her mother's ID. At 14:05 she is allowed to go through. The van is still at the gate. A bearded sergeant is not happy with our staning near the fence; he demands that we get out and take away our car, which is parked at a distance of 30 meters from the gate. We refuse but do give him details of our identification. He on the other hand, refuses to reveal to us his identity. The driver of the van tells us afterwards that when this soldier is on the shift -- there is trouble. And it is a good idea to have nothing to do with him.
Cars from the direction of the West Bank continue to go through. Their inspection takes about a minute. The driver of the van is called to enter at 14:07. He goes through in a minute. Suddenly a command-car arrives and an assistant commander of an Armored Corps company, Lieutenant Rotem, gets out of it with accompanying soldiers. He wants to talk to us. We tell him about the sergeant on the shift who is too strict, but Lieutenant Rotem has special praise for the reputation that this soldier has acquired at the CP. We give him a piece of our minds about the anomalous location of the CP and about its significance for those who use it everyday. At 14:30 a van arrives. Its driver, Madir El-Malik, turns to us, saying, "you don't see anything". His father was not allowed to transport two bags of feed for goats. The sergeant at the CP wants to have the DCO involved in everything, even if the issue is an empty jerry-can. They picked olives in the seamline zone and transported them to the olive press on the West Bank. They are not allowed to bring the oil home by the shortest route. His brother was not allowed to transport new hubcaps for the wheels of his car. At 14:37 he enters - and goes through in a minute. Two children, about ten years old, carrying nothing, are going to the West Bank; they are sent to the inspection room. They leave within a minute.
15:00 A'anin CP
About thirty workers are already waiting for the gate to open. At 15:10 the gate opens for a moment to let a command car through and is locked again. The command-car places itself near the concrete hut. H. tells us about a big pile of turkey manure in his olive grove; it was put there by a contractor from the Moshav Mei-Ami, and has causes damage to the trees. We have already read about this problem here, but it seems that no solution has been found. People ask us how long the olive-picking procedure will last, that is to say, the opening of the gates every day. We do not know. They would like the gates to open every day of the year. Somebody asks for a shelter to be set up for the rain.
At 15:25 the interior gates are opened. At 15:30 exactly they take the lock off the entrance gate. The first people who go through are two riders - one on a donkey and one on a horse. The passage is quick and businesslike. Bags are not inspected. Somebody phones from A'anin and asks for help in transporting a cart with scrap iron that the soldiers did not allow to pass earlier. It is now on the slope of the hill, among the olive trees. We promise to find out about it. In the meantime it turns out that today the soldiers are letting carts with scrap iron through without any problem. The friends of the man who has a complaint notify him about this. He will try his luck tomorrow apparently (it's about time to find a permanent solution to this problem).
At 15:55 two tractors and about 15 people are still waiting near the gate. Somebody, who told us last week that he had lost his ID card and was detained for some time at the CP (he only had a magnetic card in hand), appears with a new ID card. It cost him no less than NIS700! "How come", we ask,"court, post office, police -- 700 Shekels", he answers sadly.
A small truck is waiting at the entrance to the West Bank. Its driver says that he has been waiting since 12:30 for them to complete the arrangements for transporting the household goods of a person who is moving to the West Bank. Somebody calls us to go down to the sleeve quickly in order to see how disorderly it is at the entrance to the terminal for those returning to the West Bank. Many workers are going down into the sleeve. There is a very long queue before the turnstile, which is locked. We can see that only one window is manned. Nobody is going through at the moment. We call out and two security guards come down and nod agreement when we ask them to open an additional post.
At 16:25 the turnstile opens. Eight workers enter. In the meantime, we also make contact with Ron, who admits that he promised last to keep tabs on what is going on at the CP. At 16:30 an additional window is opened. People ask for at least two windows always to be open during rush hours, between three and six in the afternoon.
Many people tell us excitedly about the morning's events at the Taibeh CP. The pressure on the gate was very heavy, the fence toppled and many people fell into the ditch; they were injured and had to be taken to clinics in the area. Somebody shows us his torn clothes. Another person notes that most of the people are more worried about the passage at Taibeh in the morning than they are about making a living. The residents of Arabeh, for example, waste about an hour and a half traveling each way to Hadera, at least an hour and a half at the Taibeh CP and have to spend about 60 or 70 shekels on fares every day. 'This is not living,' says somebody.
At 16:45 many workers arrive and again there is a long queue, but at least now it is moving because two posts are in operation.
16:50 - We drive down to the lower parking lot. The truck that was waiting at the gate since noon is now being inspected. At the post at the entrance, the woman on duty for this shift announces that we are not allowed to go through. We disclose to her that the ban was cancelled. She calls somebody to make sure and the blockade is raised. The lower parking lot is completely full with taxis and private cars waiting for the workers to return from their jobs.