'Anin CP - who needs the checkpoints?
At Anin Checkpoint there is a large breach of the Separation Fence, inside which the main gate of this checkpoint is located. This gate is locked, while the two side gates of this checkpoint are wide open and have been so for 3-4 years. The large breach is next to the locked checkpoint gate… Yes. Read it again. The breach can be crossed and does so by pedestrians from the West Bank into the Seam Zone and into Israel whenever they wish, 24/7. Only not when the soldiers come to open the checkpoint. Why get in trouble…
This checkpoint is opened twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. It is an Agricultural checkpoint (no. 214), and farmers from the nearby Palestinian village of that name have their olive tree groves behind the Separation Fence and cannot cross it when they have to work there – namely every day. The occupier has decided: you can only come to work there twice a week.
Ever since the Separation Fence has been breached in hundreds of spots, from the north down to the southern part of the West Bank, and in view of the Israeli army’s indifference to the activity at the breaches, the Palestinians no longer wait for the soldiers to come and open the checkpoint. They simply cross whenever they wish. However, tractor owners need the soldiers. Otherwise, how can they cross?
M. is a farmer from Anin, and owns some dozens of olive trees behind the Separation Fence inside the Seam Zone. He always comes (at times with two other farmers) with his tractor to the checkpoint. Usually he stands waiting and waiting for the soldiers. Often they really let him have it, but he waits for them – half an hour, an hour, two, three and even more. There is already a routine. He calls me, asking for help. I call the DCO and/or the officer in charge of civilian complaints, trying to find out what happened and when the gate will be opened.
Monday morning, January 31, M. called at 7:30. He has been waiting at the checkpoint for over half an hour already. The soldiers have not yet shown up. Experienced, he knows he’d better begin looking into this delay early, even if it’s still early. At the DCO I was told that this morning the soldiers came an hour early, by mistake… But now, “Don’t worry, the force is on its way to the checkpoint, they’re almost there, tell M. to wait.” They did not show up. For over 3 hours we called several times, M. and I. They kept promising again and again that “the force is on its way…” But it wasn’t.
At 10 p.m. M. let me know he crossed. But he is worried. What will happen on Wednesday? Winter works begin soon, in the olive groves. One needs to plow among the trees, weed, cut large branches. There’s a lot of work. Let us cross!
Fear of closing the agricultural checkpoints is great, and is getting more and more so. This is the occupation’s wish, and a disaster for all farmers in the entire occupied territories.