'Anin, Reihan, Shaked, Thu 19.1.12, Afternoon

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Tzafrira Zamir, Neta Golan


Translator:  Charles K.

14:55  A’anin checkpoint
Four tractors and a few people wait in the rain and cold.  The soldiers open the checkpoint gatesinfo-icon exactly at 15:00; people cross quickly.  The driver of the tractor, who told us that 26 farmers from A’anin are allowed to cross through the Shaked-Tura checkpoint when the A’anin checkpoint is closed (cf. report from 29.12.11), said he’d received a new agricultural permit and even took advantage of the opportunity to cross through the Tura checkpoint.  He said he was even allowed to go through in his car, which shortens the trip from A’anin to the checkpoint from an hour and a half (by tractor) to 25 minutes (by car).  He doesn’t know whether other farmers from A’anin crossed at Tura.

15:25  Shaked-Tura checkpoint
Little traffic at this hour, either vehicles or pedestrians.

A resident of Tura whose home is located right next to the checkpoint is employed there as a janitor by a Palestinian company.  He cleans six checkpoints, from Jubara near Tulkarm to Shaked-Tura, and earns only NIS 2000/month and NIS 700 car allowance.  He has land in the seam zone but usually gets a permit only during the olive harvest.  His brother has a shop in Barta’a, but he can’t a permit to work and remain there.  He’s allowed to enter the seam zone only as far as the concrete barriers before the checkpoint.  He says he isn’t granted a permit because he objected to the demolition of a porch and uprooting of cypress trees in front of his house when the separation fence was erected.  His opposition succeeded; the fence was erected without damaging the porch or the trees, but his freedom of movement and income were curtailed.

16:00  Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint, the seam zone side
A pickup truck and a few cars wait to cross to the seam zone.

Laborers come down through the fenced corridor and immediately go through the terminal.  Beautiful, proud female students return from class on the West Bank.  Two guys carry a large carton containing a 42” flat-screen TV.  The gate is opened for them because of the TV set, so they don’t have to go through the revolving gate.  But an old woman carrying two large sacks doesn’t get the same treatment; people on line help her take her sacks through the revolving gate.  Some families with small children cross in either direction, perhaps because schools are on vacation.  Three children on their way to the West Bank are trapped in the revolving gate.  Their mother remained behind.  In response to our request, the person conducting the inspections released the gate and let the mother in as well.

When two windows are open in the terminal, there’s almost no line.  When the terminal is congested, at about 16:30, and one of the windows closes for a short time, a line of 30-40 people forms.  Our phone call to the person in charge apparently helps; the second window reopens and the line quickly disappears.

17:00  We leave the checkpoint as the laborers continue to come down through the fenced corridor, many carrying sacks of oranges.  The scent of citrus is intoxicating.