Northern Checkpoints: Olive Harvest is Underway

Observers: 
zafrira Zamir, Neta Golan (reporting) Naomi Gal translating
07/11/2019
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Morning
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

11:50 Anin Agricultural Checkpoint

During the brief olive harvest season, the Anin checkpoint opens daily, three times a day. We wanted to observe during opening hours (12:00-1:00 PM).

We arrived about ten minutes before opening time, six people and one tractor are waiting already to return home at this early hour. One person asks how we are and says he is not doing well. We are concerned about his health but he explains that the situation, not he himself, is not good. He is right, of course.

The soldiers arrive on time and open the checkpoint gatesinfo-icon. This time there are two women-soldiers from the rescue unit. They don't know MachsomWatch and ask about us. The commander, a Sergeant, listens and says something like, "Well, I'm doing my job, protecting the homeland."

For around half an hour about a dozen people cross over into the seam zone (where their olive trees are) and with them also a donkey and a cute colt. About a dozen others have finished work and are returning home, to Anin. One of those crossing to the seam zone says he wants to come back in a while. The sergeant answers that the checkpoint will be open until one. Another holds an expired permit, it turns out he already has a new permit on the computer, but not yet in his hand. The problem is familiar since this morning. The man passes.

 12:30 TURA-SHAKED Checkpoint

Very little traffic of people and cars in either direction. Eight nice young women-teachers arrive at the checkpoint from the new school in Dhar al-Malek. They live in Jenin. They ask to see our badge, read it, marvel and thank us for our presence. Two girl-students and a boy arrive in a car at the checkpoint and continue on foot to the lone house down the dirt road.

13:10 Barta'a-Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian Side

The parking lot is full and there are cars on the edge of the road and in the remote parking lots. There is almost no pedestrian traffic at this hour and there are no coffee and snack vendors either. Three drivers are waiting for passengers who do not arrive. The new kiosk is not yet operational. The parking lot for trucks next to the vehicle checkpoint is full. To our surprise, much of the merchandise is marble slabs and siding stones. We don't know what they are meant for.

13:40 We return to the car; a bored Palestinian usher says goodbye to us.