The Palestinians wait quietly without complaining. We are spoiled and complain.
Yesterday I phoned the District Coordination and Liaison Office to find about the closure during the Sukkot holiday. We were not here early in the morning, but the soldier who answered told me that the checkpoint at Barta’a Reihan was open during its usual hours. He did not know who would be permitted to cross or what was happening at the agricultural checkpoints. He referred me to the head of the civil administration and that I could find their phone number on the Internet.
I found the numbers *4943 or 074-7642929. A polite woman answered and said that the agricultural checkpoints would be open as usual. She was unable to clarify what was happening in the Shahak Industrial Zone in the seamline zone. Our friend B. who works in the carpet factory there phoned Leah earlier to complain that he had not been allowed to cross at Reihan – Barta’a. The District Coordination and Liaison Office did not answer Leah either.
06:00 – Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian Side
The parking lot was nearly empty. Only a few people were coming and entering the terminal. There was a closure for the Sukkot holiday and no entry into Israel. Even the few people who are allowed to cross at this checkpoint in the morning were not allowed. There was also no entry into the Shahak Industrial Zone despite the fact that it is in the seamline zone – the area belonging to Palestine between the green line and the separation barrier and not in Israel. People who work in East Barta’a were allowed to cross, but most arrive later.
06:30 – A’anin Checkpoint
A lieutenant who was a representative from the District Coordination and Liaison Office and we arrived on time. The soldiers responsible for opening the checkpoint were not there. No one answered the phone at the District Coordination and Liaison office. When we called the public complaints line at the civil administration we were answered by a recorded message that the office if open from 08:00 – 17:00. The lieutenant explained that the delay was due to the soldiers from the brigade and that we should call them. We did not have their correct phone number. The lieutenant from the District Coordination and Liaison Office left and then came back again. We were nearly ready to give up and leave as well when the soldiers finally arrived at 07:15 – 45 minutes late - and open the checkpoint. About 20 men, one woman, and two tractors crossed. No one complained about the delay. The woman was going to visit her daughter and son-in-law, who were waiting for her in their car.
07:40 – Tibeh Romena Checkpoint
The soldiers worked quickly, and the delay was reduced to 40 minutes. About a dozen people and two tractors crossed. Here, too, no one complained. We are spoiled and feel people need to be on time.