northern checkpoint: no ones knows the new opening hours
We attempted unsuccessfully to learn the opening hours for A’anin agricultural checkpoint during the olive harvest. The District Coordination and Liaison Office didn’t answer their phone, and the people at the Civilian Authorities did not know. The woman soldier at the checkpoint didn’t know either. She explained that the Palestinians are notified. How? On Facebook? A first sergeant who was a District Coordination and Liaison representative, explained that he didn’t know whether he was permitted to tell us and that we should inquire at the regiment. A reservist captain who was with him didn’t know either. We finally managed to get some threads of information from the soldiers and the Palestinians, which may not be accurate, that the checkpoint is open from 06:30 to 07:30 in the morning, from 12:00 – 13:00, and from 15:45 – 16:45 in the afternoon every day during the harvest. The olive harvest began today, and we should make sure to find out the correct opening hours.
15:00 A’anin Checkpoint
We arrived early since we did not know the correct hours that the checkpoint would be open. On the way we saw men and women who were busy tending their land. There were ten men and one woman waiting at the checkpoint. They told us that in the morning the checkpoint had opened late at 07:00 and that it had opened again at noon. People told us that there were not enough agricultural permits issued and that those that had been received were only for two months.
At 15:15 a military vehicle arrived carrying four soldiers – three women and one man. I tried to ask a pleasant woman soldier what the opening hours were but she didn’t know. She said they were waiting for a representative from the District Cooperation and Liaison office. Hannah attempted to ask the Palestinians, but each of them reported the checkpoint was open at different hours and no one knew for sure.
15:55 – a vehicle from the District Coordination and Liaison Office arrived with a first sergeant and a captain. Meanwhile another man and two women arrived. The checkpoint opened five minutes later and everyone crossed. At 15:45 the District Coordination and Liaison Office vehicle and another two soldiers left. Two women soldiers remained to check the few people who continued to arrive.
16:05 - We didn’t stay to wait for the District Coordination and Liaison Office car to return. On our way to the junction we saw a couple and their son harvesting olives. The man, who spoke Hebrew, said that the checkpoint would be open until 16:45.
16:15 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint
The checkpoint was quiet and dirty. A car crossed to the West Bank and another to the seamline zone. A few pedestrians crossed in both directions.
16:35 – Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian Side
Many workers were descending to the terminal through the fenced-in sleeve and going to the parking lot. Cars were maneuvering through the parking lot, filling up with passengers, and leaving. The parking lot began to empty out. The person selling soft drinks and snacks moved to a different place – perhaps he was making more money somewhere else. A young boy was running about with a thermos and small coffee cups. We bought things from both of them.
We left at 16:50. The inspector checked the back seat of our car and the trunk. Everything was in order.