Anin Checkpoint: Please stand behind the concrete

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Shuli Bar and Neta Golan (reporting), translation Tal

At the entrance to East Barta'a, few cars are parked and a coffee and snack stand is in operation. Not much traffic. Upon entering Barta'a, the prominent sight is of a huge number of cars – stolen or taken apart…

Along the road near the junction are vehicles waiting for passengers, who cross the Separation Fence and come from the West Bank to work in the Seam Zone and in Israel. Cabs and cars that brought them remain on the other side of the fence and park beneath the Palestinian villages of Kalkis and Daher Al Abed.

On the west side of road 611 is a military shooting ground, next to which several army and police cars are parked. Is it their presence that reduces the holes-in-the-fence crossings this morning?

06:30 Anin Checkpoint

The large hole in the fence and the dirt dyke next to it have not moved… Thus too the locked gate and the stubby yellow blocking columns around it. In order to let through the only Palestinian tractor at the checkpoint this morning, the soldiers remove two such columns. M. has been waiting at the gate since 6 a.m. Opening time is not regular, in spite of what a new soldier at the DCO tells us on the phone (6:10-6:55), and the Military Policemen have indeed not shown up yet. They finally arrive, very late, and are very disturbed by the fact that we stand in front of the concrete blocks and not behind them. We said we have been standing in front and beside these concrete blocks since they were still in kindergarten, so they retorted that this was a new order.

07:10 Barta'a Checkpoint

We set a meeting with a relatively young couple from the northern West Bank village of Tayibe, who wish to open a second-hand shop. They were glad to receive our bags and told us they had already rented a room at 170 shekels a month for this purpose. The meeting was moving and we wish them all the luck in the world.

07:30 Toura-Shaked Checkpoint

There is hardly any traffic at this time. The school year has opened in the Palestinian Authority. A schoolhouse has finally been opened in the nearby village of Daher Al Abed – for the time being only elementary level – so the younger children no longer need to cross the checkpoint to Toura. The heart-rending sights of sweet 6-year-olds opening their school bag for inspection by armed soldiers equipped with all their necessary defense gear have begun to fade. Two "older" schoolchildren, in their freshly-pressed attire, reach the checkpoint on their way to school.