'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked

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Marina B. and Ruti T. (reporting). Marcia L., ranslation

14:50 – Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint

At the entrance to the checkpoint, we join the lane for Israelis. Unusually, everyone was asked where they were heading.  Israeli Arabs may not enter West Bank towns, because of all kinds of closures. “Those are all right,” one of the security guards says regarding us, and we pass through. The parking lots on the Palestinian side are full; cars also park on both sides of the road, almost all the way to the distant parking lots. We return and go up to the parking lot on the Seamline Zone side. Many women come out of a taxi-- the seamstresses of Barta’a-- and workers arrive in all kinds of vehicles, including tourist buses. They tell us that these days, there is no passage at the checkpoint, except to those who have permits from to the Seamline Zone.  But don’t worry, there are enough breaches in the fence for those industrious workers who are building the town of Harish.

15:30 – Anin Checkpoint

We were very early.  On the road, a taxi driver who had brought workers is being questioned by soldiers inside a jeep.  He presented his identity card. A number of people wait for the opening of the main gate, the only one among three that is locked.  There are no tractors. The soldiers ride away and come back.  The gate is opened at 15:37. Today the afternoon opening hours were changed: from 15:15 until 15:35.  If so, they were late opening it by 15 minutes.  Residents of Anin did not hear about the change.  At 15:40, people were still coming.  The gate was locked at 15:47. But don’t worry; there is a wide breach next to the gate, for the late arrivers.  We ask the soldiers about those who pass through the breaches and they say that the issue is being taken care of; there are army reinforcements all along the fence.  We told the soldiers about Border Police soldiers who had brutally robbed Palestinians who broke through the breach, on the assumption that since the Palestinians were “lawbreakers” themselves, they would not complain.  They said that they had heard something.

16:00 – Tura-Shaked Checkpoint

Surprise:  This dormant checkpoint is bustling today.  Many cars arrive and wait to cross. Inside, next to the roadway – action.  About 10 small grocery bags lined up on the ground are being collected at this moment by three people, who put them into the trunk of a 4 x 4 SUV.  The owner of the vehicle was heard saying: “And the rice, isn’t that a shame”? We noticed that rice was scattered on the ground.  We asked the people what happened, and they told us about smuggling workers through the gaps in the fence.  Suddenly, an Israeli car arrived and stopped next to us.  We wanted to ask the (Israeli) driver what was happening here, but he continued through the checkpoint, got into the vehicle in the road, and started interrogating the exciteable driver, right before our eyes.  We heard some of what was being said.  It appears that the investigator believed the driver, and when he’s left, we managed to talk with the driver.  So, M., is an Israelii Arab, a resident of Baka al R’arbia.  According to him, the soldier harassed him where he lives, interrogated him about the baggage in his car (grocery bags, including 8 kg. of meat), and in the end confiscated his identity card and his phone.  “They eat and drink here and cause problems,” he says.  The soldier told him to drive to Barta’a Checkpoint where he would get back what had been taken from him.  At the checkpoint, they laughed at him and sent him to Tura Checkpoint.  Here they emptied the car, and as described above, scattered bags of rice on the ground.  Marina called M. in the evening and couldn’t believe how it had ended:  The soldier apologized!  And M.?  He received the apology submissively.