Aanin checkpoint: A soldier uses violence on Rachel
16.50 – 15.00
Barta’a Checkpoint, 15:00
Things were being conducted as usual. Busses from the “Yonat Hashalom” company and other transport vehicles belonging to contractors were bringing Palestinian workers from their jobs in Israel. Taxis were taking passengers to Jenin through the vehicle checkpoint, but most workers walked down the sleeve to the entrance to the terminal and to the lower parking lot in Area C. Women workers were returning to the West Bank with shopping bags from the market in Barta’a, and young people from the West Bank were crossing to get to their jobs in the afternoon shift. By 15:30 more people arrived who were returning to the West Bank and the parking lot at Zibda was partially full.
A’anin Agricultural Checkpoint, 15:45
People don’t always know when the checkpoint will open, but today the checkpoint was already open and two tractors had already returned to the village carrying passengers and olives. Next to the first entrance gate to the checkpoint there were crowds of people and shouting. There were cars at the checkpoint and more men and women soldiers than usual. The entrance gate was alternately opened and closed noisily allowing military vehicles to enter, and tractors and olive harvesters were then unable to cross and had to wait. There was a rumor that people who had entered Israel illegally had been caught and were being detained in the shed.
We approached the entrance gate and saw that the commander was behaving rudely and shouting at the workers who were waiting. We continued to approach in order to see and hear what was going on. One of the soldiers deliberately slammed the gate closed and knocked Rachel down. One of the workers told us that last Thursday the checkpoint was closed very early under the direction of the same commander, and people and tractors had not yet crossed. They were forced to wait until 20:00 when the mayor of the A’anin Regional Council arrived and the checkpoint was reopened. They still don’t know whether the agricultural checkpoint will open tomorrow, which is election day in Israel.
At 16:05 most of the women returning from the olive harvest were permitted to cross. There were still 8 tractors loaded with olives and about 15o men and women who had not yet crossed. They asked us to intervene, as if we had any influence. At 16:15 people began to cross slowly. As we had seen last week, one of the people collected everyone’s ID cards and called people one by one while the soldiers supervised alongside. Another soldier checked people’s ID cards and bags next to the exit gate.
A bus arrived and about 30 blindfolded detainees were taken away.
By 16:45 everyone had crossed except for two detainees, who were allowed to cross after things were clarified with a lot of shouting. Only one tractor was left and they were waiting to clarify things with the District Coordination and Liaison Office to decide what to do. Despite the fact that we have observed what goes on at this checkpoint each week for many years, we were shocked at the harassment and ill treatment that people received from the soldiers today.