Appetites of soldiers must be satisfied during Ramadan

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Rachel W. and Ruthi T. (Reporter and Photographer Marcia L., Translation

A bad accident at Alyakim Junction delayed us quite a bit, and we only crossed Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint at 07:30.  At this late hour, all the workers had been picked up from the junction.  We passed by full parking lots, including the truck parking lot and those on the opposite hills.  We traveled to Harmish Checkpoint only to make certain that it was functioning again.  A smiling young girl grazed goats on the side of the road. We turned back and continued to Ya’bed-Dotan Checkpoint.  There, we observed vigilant activities by the soldiers:  some were on the roof of the pillbox (we were told that was to prevent stone-throwing); others came from the field, and two arrived to worry about us.  The traffic was light, and we crossed with no delay. A pack of dogs crossed the Junction.


On our way back in the direction of Amricha, we noticed that the road leading to the settlement of Maoz Zvi was closed. It had been open wide for a few months.  We traveled to see if it was locked.  Beyond the gate, a vehicle approached and a stocky young man, armed with a gun, opened the lock and the gate passed through and locked it again.  On his shirt was written “Guard Yehuda and Shomron.”  Yes, he lives in the settlement.  In response to our question as to why he returned and locked the gate so far from Maoz Zvi (which blocks the farmers of Ya’bed), he answered: “Speak with Tzahal (the army).”  When we asked how it is that he had the key to the military gate, he mumbled something unintelligible.


We returned to Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint on the Seamline Zone side at 08:30. We approached the taxi drivers who met us with this complaint: "Many people are not working now, there are no permits.  Do something so they will open the breaches in the fences.  Let the army know . . .” At 08:45 the merchants in Barta’a and non-construction workers started to arrive.  The taxi drivers returned to their vehicles.


At around 09:00, we arrived at Tura-Shaked Checkpoint.  A man with two children arrived from the West Bank and complained that he had waited 25 minutes to cross.  Just like that . . . for no reason.  Nothing happened at the checkpoint.  After he left, we turned to the soldiers and asked for an explanation. A male and female soldier who introduced herself as the commander of the checkpoint approached us.  She behaved rudely.  One of her excuses was that just at that time, food arrived from the base.  Another soldier arrived all the while eating. In the terminal, two Palestinians waited for a ride.  We asked the soldiers if they had any instructions for behaving respectfully during the Ramadan fast, and they again answered rudely.  We left, angry. We entered Daher al Malec to see the new sidewalks.


When we passed the nearby Anin Agricultural Checkpoint, we decided to approach and peek at it even though it is not open for crossing today.  We discovered that it was staffed by a few soldiers and looked like a decent place.  Apparently, food was also supplied to them.