15.00. The Bridge still closed in both directions.
We passed Barta’a checkpoint and continued east, to the “bridge” on route 596., wanting to see if the gate in the direction of route 6115 west is still open. (report of 12/9/2018). It is not. The road is once again blocked. The yellow gate is locked, with cement blocks underneath it. The gate in the other direction, to Zebda, is locked as usual.
15.15. Barta’a – Reihan checkpoint, Palestinian side.
The parking lot is full, but orderly. Two Palestinian ushers see to the order. Few people return from work at this hour. Above one of the routes in the station is a notice in Arabic and Hebrew, in yellow and red: “Private [?] entrance for Barta’a inhabitants .” A child sells coffee from a thermos, two people sell light drinks and snacks; drivers wait for passengers.
15.45-16.45. A’anin checkpoint.
The checkpoint is open and we see on the slope going down people who have already passed. 15.45 is opening-time in the olive harvest season, as we were told on the phone by a D.C.O. soldier. Checking of permits is done at the gate near us by two women soldiers of regiment Tabor. We asked one of them, a sergeant, what the opening time should be – perhaps the D.C.O. soldier was mistaken? She said she would have to get permission to let us know. She went aside to phone, and returned to tell us that she was forbidden to tell us and that we were forbidden to be there. We tried to explain that we have been coming there for years, while she asked if we wanted to be arrested.
We continued to stand there as usual. Palestinians dribble out in ones and twos. They all greet us warmly. Checking is quick. We tried to ask people when the checkpoint is opened – they said at about 4 o’clock. We did not become much wiser. The sergeant, apparently in charge of the watch, asked how long we intend standing there, as the checkpoint would remain open for a long time. We showed her the document allowing us to take photographs, and she does not react. Meanwhile a vehicle arrived with a new batch from Tabor regiment, and a lieutenant descended, who helped the two women soldiers to check the documents of the few people passing. The lieutenant departs. The soldiers and we remain until the gates close, at precisely 16.45.