07.05 Anin checkpoint
This morning, we chose to go to the Anin checkpoint instead of Tura-Shaked. Both of them open at 07:00. The road between Mei-Ami and Um-Reihan has been repaired with bright black asphalt, but at the turn to Anin, the road is still full of pot-holes and pits . . .
We passed the first gate and continued on foot as far as the interior gate. There we met the civil-administration representative and the checkpoint commander (a captain), who's allowed us to observe the inspection procedure for about ten minutes. The inspections appeared to be strict : all the bags that the Palestinians carried (usually filled with clothes and food) were inspected, including the bags containing the plastic sheets which are spread underneath the olive trees (it is the olive-picking season now). We saw at least one of the young men being sent back because one of his bags didn’t pass the stringent inspection.
A graduate of the English department at the American University in Jenin , who had come to help with the olive picking, became very angry about the soldiers’ attitude and their violation of the Palestinians’ human rights in general.
We passed several tractors and donkeys, together with their riders. We heard complaints that in many families only one family member is allowed to participate in the olive harvest. In fact, those whose olive groves are on the slope going down to the Wadi (valley), which are full of olives (“like grapes,” as they said) haven't receive enough permits, and those that were issued were valid for only one month. The olive- picking season, including the work that's required afterwards, lasts more than a month . . .
The story told to us by a woman riding on a donkey particularly touched our hearts. Her eyes were red, either from an infection or from crying (two of her daughters, aged about twenty, had died of cancer). Her husband and only son are not permitted to accompany her to pick olives in their orchard, which is situated far from the bottom of the Wadi and to which access is on the back of a donkey or on foot. The army has already refused, for several years, to open another gate to provide access from the patrol-road, near this olive-orchard. We shall try to help her via the olive-picking coalition, together with public activists in Anin.
At 07:30 children from the Beduin settlement in the Wadi were picked up by their truck and taken to their school in Um-Reihan,, and we also took some hitchhikers with us.
08.00 Barta’a/Reihan checkpoint
Trucks were leaving the inspection site and others drove up to it. At the top of the “Sleeve” (enclosed corridor), mostly tradesmen arrived from Barta’a, carrying glasses of coffee and produce from the Hermesh settlement. “Everything is OK” they told us.