'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tayba-Rummana, Tura-Shaked
06:00 – 08:45
Barta’a Checkpoint 6:05 a.m.
Barta’a Checkpoint 6:05 a.m.
This checkpoint opens at 5 a.m. An hour later, as we arrived, the waiting line was very long, and moved in absolute silence towards the turnstiles under the watchful eye of Palestinian security guards. The pace of entering the turnstiles and proceeding to the terminal was not fast. It is highly likely that only 2-3 inspection booths were active inside. The Palestinian security guards wear black uniforms and are armed with clubs, the Israeli security guards bear firearms, and between the two stand Palestinian day-workers, obedient and subjugated.
‘Anin Checkpoint 6:30 a.m.
At least 60 people crossed the checkpoint today, many of them youngsters. We heard the DCO had informed the local farmers that they could apply to renew their permit to cross at Anin Checkpoint, open only two days a week, and the permit would also be valid for Barta’a Checkpoint, open daily from dawn till night. This is a surprising novelty, which so far has not been implemented. Time will tell.
Tura Checkpoint 7:30 a.m.
Numerous vehicles wait outside the checkpoint to pick up workers and deliver them to their work places. On Sundays-Wednesdays this checkpoint is supposed to open at 6:30 a.m. On Thursdays- Saturdays it opens at 7 a.m., usually later. Today it opened at 7:15, and the workday began with taught nerves because of the workers’ tardy arrival to work, because of the delay by the turnstile and because of the actual inspection in the booth, where somehow the computer either “didn’t warm up sufficiently”… or the soldier who checks the paperwork and does this slowly and sloppily. The Palestinians feel this is done so on purpose. Every single day, for many years, this lack of consideration for the Palestinians’ basic needs preserves and reinforces their hostile feelings towards the army and hatred of Israel.
We hear a woman-soldier yelling at the nervous crowd, promising them that as long as they don’t hold still they will not be allowed through.
7:35 a.m. – a DCO representative arrives in a large white Toyota. He was here at 7, but the soldiers were not, so he went elsewhere (we saw him at Anin Checkpoint). Said a veteran driver: now he will make them line up and no one will get through. And indeed, the yelling dies down and the first of the passing workers emerges from the shorter sleeve only after 10 long minutes.
One man asks us: well, tell us what you do? To our explanation we added that “we come here so you can see there are Israelis to whom you really matter and that they really care about your dire situation at the checkpoints.”
Tayibe-Rumana Checkpoint 8 a.m.
About 50 people stand waiting. The Border Police is already here and opening all the gates (2 net gates, 2 yellow metal gates). Passage is rather swift. One man is turned back, we couldn’t understand why. One of the men exiting asks us to remain until they all get through, and another explains that a month ago crossing was halted mid-way, a group of men could not get through and had to go back home. We did not understand the reason for this, there may have been “an incident at the fence” (a general description for various kinds of security events that justify soldiers leaving the checkpoint). 4 hours later, at 12 noon, they were informed by the DCO that they could get back to the checkpoint and cross over.