'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tayba-Rummana
Barta’a Checkpoint 5:50 a.m.
We go around the new crossing post, a sophisticated corral shiny with newly engineered metal bars all around, and it feels terrible. Who is it that made a fortune of occupation money by building this?
An easygoing young man approaches us. He has a story to tell. Two days ago he was released from a month’s detention for being in Israel illegally, got a suspended sentence of two-years in prison and a black spot next to his name on any Israeli authorities’ computer. He has a permit for the Barta’a checkpoint valid for a year but that black spot… How black it is indeed. He has five children (I must have misheard him, he seems too young for that) and must find a source of livelihood. Sadly we told him this was too early to solve, but still gave him a note with Sylvia’s team numbers to seek help.
Neta: Just imagine they were us and we were them…
Shuli: We wouldn’t last a single day…
A young man disembarks from his transport, runs hurriedly to the surprisingly short waiting line and mutters to us: we must have another track, must…
‘Aneen Checkpoint 6:30 a.m.
Al ein basira wil id qasira - Arabic for “the eye look and the hand too short to help”
At the checkpoints we see the visible side of the occupation, with all of its hammers. The violence, the bureaucracy, the indifference and alienation. At times a man approaches and discloses to us an invisible piece of his life and it contains pain. Sorrow. Despair. A young man, over 30-years old, looks at us, hesitates and finally approaches. In Israeli Hebrew he draws open a curtain: married to an Arabic citizen of Israel from Umm Al Fahm. They have two children. He is from the Palestinian village of Roumana east of her town. She lives up in the west, inside Israel. The three of us are obviously aware of the fact that they do see each other often, but when he stays overnight with his family he jeopardizes both himself and them. She come over to him and even stays a while, over the weekend, but only for a visit. Neither of them wish for her to lose her Israeli rights, hers and her children’s – so precious for them all. At the same time he longs for family unification. He was told that a good lawyer could… But there’s no money. “I want my children to grow up with me. I want to be with them as they grow up.” We carefully told him that his chances at family unification are very slight. He said “I know” and left… Perhaps he just wanted to tell us his story. Perhaps he was hoping for advice. We followed him with our eyes, helplessly.
Tayibe-Roumana Checkpoint 7:30 a.m.
The air is wonderful. Clear. Cool. It had been drizzling. The near and far landscape is still fresh and green with some gentle purple and pink wildflowers. Hills and vales. On the hilltops large houses probably overlooking the amazing view of the Jezreel Valley or whatever lies between here and Jenin. Quiet. And there’s the checkpoint. And soldiers. Who – let’s face it – are occupation hammers as well. This morning few people cross (except for one). Amidst the barbed wire fences. Hey you! Go back! One at a time!!