For whom are the self-righteous signs intended?
Generous rains coming down on Jews and Palestinians locked together in the Semite space of the Middle East…
6-6:20 a.m. Barta’a Checkpoint
We approached the turnstile and… no waiting line again. What, is it the rain? Perhaps all checking posts inside the terminal are operating and there is no need to wait in line? The Palestinians make fun of us: there are simply no permits. They were taken away. And not renewed. At the checkpoint, a sign written in three languages, greeting the people as they enter and entreating them to be nice and disciplined and do what is right for us and then you will be fine, have a swift passage, and no delays. And a nice and safe time in our checkpoint. Oh, just a minute, before you enter, remove your coats and take care to memorize the instructions posted on the sign, or else you won’t be let through. The Palestinian guards, wielding their clubs, are idle at this time. When a waiting line forms they generally walk to and fro keeping their brethren from making trouble, so everyone will be safe and sound. The ground on which the sign stands – and the hundreds and thousands of dunams around it – have legal owners, robbed. Every Palestinian passing through here (three generations of them) – he and the members of his family – carry the bleeding, sharp wounds of occupation. He has been robbed, his land stolen, humiliated, threatened, wildly fined, and expecting to be chased away from the checkpoint for no reason. And he – look at that – does not forget and does not forgive.
6:30-6:50 ‘Anin Agricultural Checkpoint
Apparently soldiers of the Military Police did not read Miki Fischer’s report so they are not aware of the fact that Palestinians are no longer to be punished (by being denied passage) for choosing strange work clothes. “Yesterday we had a conference”, one of the soldiers informs us, “and not a word about this was said.” Few cross the checkpoint here today. Among them two who were glad to meet us and say that their life is just great. As older than 55, these men have the privilege of only needing to show their IDs, so they get around and work in various places.
7-7:20 Toura-Shaked ‘Fiber of life’ Checkpoint
Quiet as expected. 15 minutes later elementary schoolchildren who attend school beyond the checkpoint – in Toura village – begin to arrive. Some their dad’s car, and others on foot, armed with umbrellas.
Coffee at Umm Al Fahm
An acquired habit: at the little bakery at the Mei Ami entrance to town we enjoy a cup of hot coffee and human warmth alongside parents and children who have come in to buy sandwiches for school.
7:50-8:25 Tayibe-Roumana Agricultural Checkpoint
It’s cold and wet. For the same Military Policemen we saw at ‘Anin, too. Within a quarter-of-an-hour everyone got through beside two Palestinians who apparently got mixed up while choosing their clothes this morning. They return to Tayibe village in K.’s golf cart – which didn’t get through with him today, nor he with it. Here too a faded but very friendly sign advises strangers to stay safe.