'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Sun 30.10.11, Afternoon

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Ruthie T., Hasidah S. (reporting)

Translation: Bracha B.A.

A'anin Checkpoint, 15:00

The gate opens precisely on time and there is a considerable number of people waiting to return to the village. Most are young people hired to work in the olive harvest by people who own the groves. Also waiting are two tractors loaded with sacks of olives and tins of oil. The gate is open only wide enough to allow one person to pass. There is a coil of barbed wire hanging from one of the gatesinfo-icon which is sure to injure someone who is passing through the narrow opening. On the other hand, there is no barbed wire along the entire upper part of the gate. When we mentioned this to the soldiers they said that it was not their concern – their job is to see to security, not to the safety of the Palestinians crossing the fence. The soldiers behaved insolently. One of them, a religious soldier carrying a weapon continued to eat sunflower seeds and spit the shells out while he was attending to the people at the checkpoint.

Apparently every one of the Palestinians was supposed to know their number on the list and to tell the woman soldier who is checking documents. When someone arrived and asked who was last in line, he was told, "you are". Someone took the initiative and collected everyone's documents and organized the line. An unpleasant incident occurred when one of the tractor drivers arrived with bags of olives and a bag of meat that he had received from a relative in Um Reihan for the approaching holiday. The soldiers did not permit him to bring in the meat because A'anin is an agricultural checkpoint [and it is permitted to transport only agricultural produce]. This is similar to another incident that we heard about several months ago. The solution, as before, was to return the meat to the relative in Um Reihan and bring it in at the Shaked-Tura Checkpoint, where there is a road to A'anin. This is all for the security of the State of Israel…)

Shaked-Tura Checkpoint 15:40

We were there for a short time. One man and a student passed from the seamline zone. We returned to A'anin to observe the closing of the gates. The soldiers called for several young people approaching the gate to hurry and then closed the gate. They then opened the gate again so that they could drive through in their Hummer. The red-headed tractor driver with his bags of olives also drove through.

Reihan-Barta'a Checkpoint, 16:40

When we first arrived the checkpoint was empty. After a few minutes the wave of workers from the seamline zone arrived. We descended the sleeveinfo-icon and saw about 40 people crowded around the turnstile at the entrance and about 20 people inside next to the two windows which were open. When they were done the turnstile opened again and only four people were let in. The next time the turnstile opened seven people were let in, and then one of the windows closed, the turnstile remained closed for a long time, and a crowd accumulated at the turnstile.

With difficulty we managed to attract the attention of one of the workers in the terminal and to help a woman and girl caught inside at the crowded entrance. Soon there were about 200 people crowded at the entrance. Meanwhile about a dozen men and women exited the turnstile in the direction of the seamline zone, temporarily blocking the turnstile for workers going to the West Bank. People became very angry and we couldn't find out what was going on. Someone said that there was an ambulance on the other side of the checkpoint. We thought about going to the lower parking lot but on the way we met a man who asked us to help him get through the pedestrian crossing at the vehicle checkpoint. He has a heart problem and did not feel well going through the crowd in the sleeve. We did not succeed because the man had no medical permit allowing him to go through the pedestrian crossing. He said that two days ago the terminal was also crowded and they had let people cross at the pedestrian crossing. Today they did not permit it. The guard said that the crowd was dispersing and we had to send the man to go through the regular way through the sleeve. We attempted to call Sharon, the manager of the checkpoint, but could not reach him. He eventually returned our call when we were already on our way home and said that the checkpoint was less crowded.