ברטעה-ריחן

Observers: 
Observers:  Leah R., Anna N-S.  Chana Stein translating.
May-7-2018
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Morning

06:00.  Barta’a – Reihan checkpoint

It is quietly crowded in the upper parking lot. Groups of workers wait for their transport. The usual crowd near the kiosk, with coffee and cigarettes. Lucky ones find space at the table, the others sit on chairs or on the ground, and the kiosk owners are busy.  A surreal sight:  the kiosk has two counters, one faces the path towards the terminal, and the other faces the area of the checkpoint.  On one side the soldiers drink their morning coffee, and on the opposite counter – the Palestinians.

The pace of passage is normal. The creaking turnstile sends more and more Palestinians to their day’s work. Some try to insert their belts while walking, others wait to do so when standing. They say to us, “Everything is good;” young people who were born into the occupation. If they are here now, there is some income, hence “everything is good”. Who has time to think of another reality? And if it is possible to sweeten the morning with a coffee and a pastry at the settler’s, then surely “everything is good.” Do they really believe so? But what does it matter what they believe or think? What is clear:  the occupation has won grandly.

07:00. A’anin agricultural checkpoint

The checkpoint is open, but only few people are passing. The soldiers stand next to the cement barriers with their guns aimed at those approaching. About 15 pedestrians and 5 tractors passed. An old man argues with the soldiers with body language and gestures, trying to persuade the indifferent soldiers. They do not understand Arabic and are  also not particularly interested in his argument. The important thing is that he has disobeyed the rules, the cheeky fellow. He has 4 packets of cigarettes - how shameful! This is a commercial quantity. He tries to explain that these are intended for his brother whom he is to meet in the fields. After all, he is old (60 ), sick, and doesn’t smoke. We follow this silent conversation, and in the end he gives up and passes the packages to someone, and goes out. He talks to other people to express his frustration.

Time to close the checkpoint – and we leave.

07:10   Turah – Shaked checkpoint.

The checkpoint opened half an hour late, at 7 am. In addition, they have appointed a trainee soldier, which slows down the process. An angry man comes out –he has waited next to the turnstile from 6 am. He was 6th in the line, but only now he is passing. Why? Why do they delay us like this? What can one say to the angry man, that a Palestinian’s time isn’t worth consideration?

School children begin to come The older ones have an examination. They hold their schoolbooks and revise the material. The smaller children come after them laughing, and tease and try to provoke us.