'Anin, Jalama, Reihan, Shaked, Mon 1.2.10, Afternoon

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Leah R., Anna N.S.

Translation: Bracha B.A.

06:00  A'anin Agricultural Checkpoint
Despite the nice weather, only five people went through the checkpoint before it closed.  A soldier tried to get us to move 15 meters away from the gate and stand at the concrete barrier.  The soldier was the person who provided us with this information.  We suggested to him that he consider the fact that there are about 1,000 people in A'anin who own land across the checkpoint but only five were permitted to go through, and what this implies about the occupation.  He also claimed that there were others who wished to cross but whose permits were no longer valid.

06:40 - Reihan-Barta'a Checkpoint
We were told that the checkpoint has opened on time and that people were crossing without any delay.  Occasionally a taxi arrives with more people on their way to work.  The restrooms have not yet been installed. Three tenders carrying vegetables vacuum-packed in plastic arrived before 7:00 and had not yet been checked when we left at 07:00.  It was not clear if the inspection area was occupied by vehicles that had arrived before them, or if there was simply a delay. 07:15  - Shaked-Tura Checkpoint 
Cars are once more being checked in an area surrounded by concrete barriers with only a small space left open for the car to leave afterwards.  Has something happened that has caused the cars to be checked in such a manner?

When we arrived we encountered a group of small schoolchildren carrying huge backpacks and looking gloomy.  We thought they were being sent home but they were waiting for a car to take them across the checkpoint.

They march through past the soldier who greets them with a forced "good morning."  One little girl clings to her father's clothing and follows after him wherever he walks and does not let go until they get back into the car.    The older students walk directly to the inspection booth.  People claim that they go through relatively quickly as compared to previous times.

07.40  - Reihan Barta'a Checkpoint

We returned to Reihan and found the same three tenders still waiting where we had left them.  After a few minutes they were called to be checked.  People are trickling into the checkpoint and the taxi drivers are waiting in their beat-up cars for passengers who will not arrive soon.  At Mevo Dotan Checkpoint people go through without delay.  "Everything is as sweet as sugar," says one man and kisses the tips of his fingers cynically.

We left at 07:50 for Jalamen to pick up Aya and her mother.  Aya's mother reorts that the checkpoint is crowded and full of families going to visit prisoners in Israel, and there are three busses waiting for families.  Children whose hair is neatly combed and who are wearing good clothes are running around outside.  Some are playing games and jumping over the concrete barriers.  There is a picnic-like atmosphere.  How absurd life is.