The Occupation is ticking, so are delayed bombs

Neta Golan and Shuli Bar (reporting), Translation T.

6 a.m. – Barta’a central checkpoint

Three Ecumenical Accompaniers stand by the turnstile with their Arab driver or accompanier, one from Ireland, the second from Germany and the third from Ecuador. They arrived at 5 a.m. and counted 1700 persons who crossed during the past hour (using a manual counter). While we were talking, a young man approached us for help about his permit to enter Israel, and received a note from us with Sylvia’s phone numbers, in the hope that her team might help solve his situation. Around us pedestrians moved swiftly, most of them working in construction of the new town of Harish. We wonder what they think about people – Israelis and internationals – who come here at this ungodly hour, look at them, count them, write about them, but don’t really help them. Beside the excitement of the surprise encounter with the accompaniers, everything ticked like the usual occupation clock.

6:30 a.m. Anin agricultural checkpoint

There are new soldiers on our morning shift – neither Military Police nor Border Police. Time will tell if they’ll continue the conduct we witnessed this morning: no harassment of passers-by, no going into their pockets, no keeping anyone from passing, they even wondered politely who we were and wished us a good day. Still few people crossed, and one of them tells us about his son whose permit to cross the agricultural checkpoint was taken away.

7 a.m. – Toura-Shaked ‘fabric of life’ checkpoint

Armed and fully equipped soldiers stood at strategic points at this small, yawning checkpoint and supercised the passage of kindergarten children, a few industrial workers, and some cars and pedestrians. Too bad we have no counter to count everyone who wishes to cross and must cross here, even if just to maintain a fabric of life with his own people caged behind the fence. Little girls ask for a pen, smiling shyly.

8 a.m. – Tayibe-Roumana Checkpoint

On our way here we cross Umm Al Fahm and stop for coffee at a small bakery before ascending Askandar Peak (Mount Alexander) on our way down to the checkpoint. Little children, here to buy sandwiches for school, look at us with curiosity and adults read our tags and ask questions. At the checkpoint itself things are ticking. Even K. crossed today with his golf cart, and waved to us gladly.