'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Thu 12.2.09, Afternoon

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Sima S, Bracha B.A., (Reporting)

Today we learned that the laws of the occupation do not apply to people only. They apply to animals as well…

Reihan Checkpoint: 14:35

Five vans are waiting in the Palestinian parking lot below, and drivers are waiting for workers to come back. There is a lot of contention among the drivers regarding the fact that Israeli Arab drivers from Barta’a are now allowed to come to the seamline area and work, depriving the Palestinian drivers of their work. The checkpoint is quiet since workers have not yet arrived.  We leave for A’anin.

A’anin Checkpoint: 15:20
When we arrive the tractors and farmers have already gone through the gate, which now stands wide open. Four men are being detained near the inner gate on the other side.  The only traveler still waiting to pass through from the seamline zone to A’anin is none other than a white horse. A young man leading him approaches us and explains that the horse was taken through the checkpoint to the seamline zone two days ago to receive veterinary care. The driver dropped him off at the A’anin checkpoint with the horse, but they are now stranded on the seamline side of the gate because the soldiers will not let the horse back in!  The young man does not know what to do: he cannot leave with the horse: it is not his, and he lives far away, and he cannot leave him tied up here.
We approach the gate and ask the soldiers what is going on. One, who gives his name as G., politely explains to us that there is a new regulation that animals cannot pass back and forth through the checkpoints. He is sorry, but this is a division-level decision and he must follow orders. He does not know who let the horse out two days ago, but he cannot let it back in because he has been ordered not to.

We back off from the gate: there is a stalemate. Sima decided to call the brigade commander and begins dialing other MW members to retrieve the number. The young man paces back and forth helplessly with the horse, which whinnies, paws the ground, and grows restless: The young man wants to be relieved of his responsibility and go home, and the horses is probably hungry and eager to cross the gate and go home as well. Fifteen minutes later, before Sima manages to find the number of the commander the young man comes up to us to shake our hands and thank us: the soldiers have relented and the horse has been let through to his waiting owner. We approach the gate to thank the soldiers, but G’s companion is standing resolutely with his back to us, obviously not eager to speak to us at all.

Meanwhile, one of the soldiers is talking over the radio in the jeep, reading off the names and ID numbers of the four men who are still being detained. We leave and depart for Shaked Tura.

Shaked Tura - 16:10
The checkpoint is empty.  End of shift.