'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan, Thu 21.11.13, Morning

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Neta Golan, Shula Bar (reporting and photographing) Translator: Charles K.

06:10  A’anin checkpoint

The DCO decided the olive harvest has ended and the checkpoint again opens only twice a week.  Many youths cross first.  Crossing seems to go relatively quickly, misleadingly so, as if there are no problems.  But it only seems that way.

Don’t forget that the people crossing through the checkpoints are first of all, last of all, and over all, those who have permits.  And a permit is either valid or not, or forged or not - period.  The permits, to the great regret of the checkpoint authorities and the DCO, can’t cross by themselves.  The people bringing them through are an invisible annoyance or a potential two-legged terror attack disguised (at A’anin) as a farmer.  But we’re leaning against the concrete barriers, pen and paper in hand, ready to listen, and almost everyone who stops has a heartfelt story to tell.


*A lean man aged 40-50 from a village northeast of A’anin works in the seam zone for the meager amount of NIS 100/day (!).  If he’d cross through the Barta’a/Reihan checkpoint the trip to the seam zone would cost less than NIS 50 (that he pays now) and he’d be able to go through more often than twice a week.  He appealed to have his situation taken into consideration, but wasn’t successful – though they did manage to grant him a permit for A’anin…

*A widow and her son, tell us with the help of a relative who speak hebreo,  they discovered at the end of the olive harvest that fifty olive trees had been cut down in their grove in the seam zone.  They complained to a policeman at the Salem DCO who told them there’d be an investigation… letws hope so.

*A resident of A’anin says that a month and a half ago soldiers at the checkpoint confiscated his 18-year-old son’s new crossing permit.  They went to the Salem DCO and obtained a new permit, which was also confiscated/

* Another resident of A’anin says his son went through the A’anin checkpoint last week without any problem but when he got to the junction soldiers came and tore up his permit/

*A young man from A’anin was late arriving at the checkpoint with a tractor (after six-thirty) and was punished – he crossed, the tractor didn’t, because (as we was more or less told by the DCO officer) he hadn’t internalized the instructions given to residents of A’anin regarding the importance of arriving at the checkpoint on time.

*A woman asked us for a ride to the Barta’a/Reihan checkpoint.  She’s on her way to Jenin.  Why not go there directly from the village (A’anin)?, we asked, and didn’t understand her reply.  Only when we had dropped her off at the Barta’a checkpoint did we discover she’d left this morning through the A’anin checkpoint and wanted to return home immediately but the soldiers wouldn’t let her, so she decided to return via Jenin.  Generally, when this happens, the soldiers allow people who want to return go back after everyone has crossed.  Too bad we didn`t understand her on time to help her. 

A polite officer (a major) in the DCO’s white Toyota, stops beside us and explain that the permits which were torn/confiscated were probably forged.  And latecomers are in fact punished because the soldiers have to proceed to open the next checkpoint and can’t wait for them.


07:10  Tura/Shaked checkpoint

A group of men waits on the Tura side to go through the revolving gate to the inspection room.  A group of pupils has just gone through the checkpoint.  Teachers arrive in two cars from the seam zone; they’ve been crossing here daily for years.  They get out for document inspection, return to the vehicles, go through after they’ve been inspected, continue to schools in the West Bank.  There’s a rumor this checkpoint will be closed to anyone who doesn’t live in the seam zone.  Residents of Tura, Nazlat Zayd, Yabed, etc. won’t be able to cross here; they’ll have to go to Barta’a.  If it’s true, that’s very bad.


08:00  Yabed/Dothan checkpoint.

The side road to Yabed is blocked by a locked iron bar.  Traffic flows unhindered through the checkpoint.  We stand next to the concrete barriers; two soldiers approach us.  Good morning, good morning.  A terrifying D-9 Caterpillar tractor stands opposite the checkpoint.  All the people in the passing cars wave hello to us happily; we feel we’ve become a permanent part of the landscape…  Like the concrete barriers, Neta says.


08:20  Barta’a/Reihan checkpoint

Ten private cars and about 15 laden commercial vehicles waited on the road to go through the vehicle inspection station.  Permits attached to people who wish us a warm good morning leave through the upper terminal exit.  Do you have a permit to be here? someone asks, and laughs uproariously.  A bulldozer works on some mysterious project on the hill at the upper entrance to the checkpoint area.