'Anata, Fri 28.8.09, Morning
9.17 The checkpoint of Anata on the western side was almost empty.Michaela phoned and suggested we go to the eastern side.
9.30 East Anata - Few cars wait to be checked. (At the place by mistake a sign has been put , and on it written " An Accident"). 3 soldiers are standing at the top of the hill . The view of the northern checkpoint, protected with a huge sunshade from the sun is really a surrealistic picture, truly a picnic in a war zone.
A driver waiting in the shade of his car tells about long lines at Qalandiya. Acording to the order , men over 45 are not allowed to pass into Jerusalem. Women over 45 can. East of Anata is a passage only into the village because the west side is a checkpoint which allows entrance to Jerusalem.
A man of about 30 says that he is not allowed to enter the village where he has a poultry business, and if he will not be able to pass the chickens will die. He is from Ramallah and his sister lives in the village.
A border policeman of about 40 years old (a regimental commander, Majdi C) stops what he is doing to tell us to move 50 metres from the checkpoint (which does not exist physically). I asked to see a written order and did not get it. In the end I said that because he was a policeman I had to carry out his orders and moved. We stayed where we were.
I phoned Uri M., The commander of the DCO of the Jerusalem Envelope to ask him to check if there was a security risk or not. I asked to let the man going to his chickens. The soldiers came again to chase us away from the checkpoint.
10.14 As a result of our phonecall Urie phoned us to find out if his order to allow us to stay at the checkpoint had been obeyed and at that moment the regimental commander comes up to send away 5 Palestinians who have been talking to us , among them the man with the chickens. But he does not ask us this time to move off.
10.21 The answer about the chicken man has not arrives and in another conversation Mendes says that "his captain" is on his way to us.
In the meantime there is a permanent line of 5 cars being checked who then either go on their way or are turned back. This takes about 5 minutes. This of course is the first thing that the occupation takes from people, the control of their time.
10.30 Major Sultan from the DCO arrives and checked the matter of the chicken man. He signs the soldiers to let him through. In the game of GOOD COP, BAD COP the machsomwatch women have been given a carrot and now comes the stick. Not more than a few minutes after and the same major refuses a very sick man of about 35 on a crutch and dragging between his feet a bloody infusion to pass. With him is a woman carring a baby in her arms and two little children of whom the oldest is about 10 , dressed in new white clothes. Every now and again the woman hits the small boy standing close to her feet. According to Sultan he already knows him from all the checkpoints at the time of Ramadan for the past 3 years. So let him pass I suggest. I knew that there was small chance of this as the policeman had already played for us...and he refuses. He does not have a special permit and is under the required age.
10.52 Now we are told that this checkpoint will be taken down and that people will be allowed to pass between 12.30 to 13.00. The checkpoint on the eastern side of Anata will be closed. Sultan leaves after he has scolded the sick man with a monitory finger. The man throws personal juicy curses at him and stands angerly at the side of his family.
11.15 Pedestrians are not allowed pass though the checkpoint by orders from above.
There are many words written the whole length of the wall which one can see going up to the village but cannot read them because of the distance.
The soldiers speak to the Palestinians in their own language...a stranger will not understand this.
11.15 At the checkpoint on the other side of Anata...from the right to the path to checkpoint considerable work is being carried out, maybe a car park is being laid down. Maybe roads to the border?
About 50 men who already passed the checkpoint are standing and waiting for the buses to be checked, on the way to prayers. It seems to me that women and children are allowed to pass in the buses.
On the east side of the checkpoint (at the Anata passage) a captain come up to us as soon as we arrived. His military rank is hidden by his bullet-proof vest. His name is Yossie and he seems to be responsible for the checkpoint. He has come to greet us. Jihad from Unwra comes to introduce himself and says that between the hours of 9.00 -10:00 27 vans went through. Between 10.00 - 10.15 some more and between 10.15 - 11.50 73 big buses and 10 small ones.
11.27Suddenly in a minute behind the van which is being checked in the passage and which prevents us from seeing what is happening a ruction begins, shouts, soldiers and border police and Palestinians fighting and separating run towards us. Everyone is hysterical and confused and insulted and angry. We heard from the Palestinians that a religious women in traditional garb standing next to an old man with a white beard had been touched by a soldier. She is 65 and was not allowed to pass. He is 48 and was also not allowed through. The Palestinians say that a Palestinian youth who is a collaborator had pointed her out to the soldiers and therefore she was not allowed to pass, The boy was arrested by the soldiers who pinned him to the ground but immediately freed, allowed to pass to the Israeli side and disappears. In the meantime because of the commotion the soldiers had closed the checkpoint. This already happened in the presence of the high captain who had arrived. Yehuda I., in a conversation with us and with the captain of the DCO whose name was not clear. We did not manage to persuade either to let the two through and also the man who was despairing and angry. He said that he would teach his 8 children to hate us because of the insult of the day. A young man with a torn vest who had been in the heart of the commotion and his arms filled with deep cuts from his shoulders to the bottom incites the spirits and says it is his right to pray even though he himself is a Christian. He calls for historic justice, excites himself almost to hysteria. We agree with him that this is unnecessary suffering . What can one say.
12.50 We left the checkpoint.