Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
Reihan, Shaked, Sun 8.7.12, Morning
Shaked (Tura) Checkpoint is located on the separation fence and near the Palestinian villages of Tura and Dahar el-Malh and the settlement of Shaked. The checkpoint opens twice a day for a total of 10 hours. The transients are schoolchildren from the "seam zoon" who learn in West Bank educational institutions, farmers from both sides of the separation fence who have been cut off from their lands, pedestrians and vehicles. The names of those entitled to pass here are on lists held by the soldiers.
Since 2008 taxis and private cars with permits are allowed to pass from the West Bank to the Seam Zone and back.
Translator: Charles K.
Shaked-Tura checkpoint 07:00
The gates are open, the soldiers are inside, two students wait to be called to cross to the Palestinian side, a herd of goats waits on the Tura (West Bank) side on its way to graze in the seam zone, but the first one through turns out to be from the village of Tura, at 07:08, then the goats and then the students.
We’ve already mentioned how spiffy the checkpoint looks, how it operates like clockwork. Meanwhile only thistles grow around it, but the landscaping will arrive eventually. The road is new, as is the shiny fenced corridor leading to the center of the checkpoint. The pedestrian crossing already looks a little worn, the shed is already leaning slightly, and the traffic lights aren’t yet operating.
And as always: those crossing on a regular basis leave their car, walk to be inspected, return and bring the car in for inspection. Every day, for many years already. The routine of leaving for work, the occupation routine. It seems perfectly normal to the soldiers – after all, they were born into this situation.
Barta’a checkpoint 07:30
We parked in the lower lot (on the Palestinian side) where there was still a little room. About six trucks laden with merchandise wait to be called for inspection. We delivered clothing, drank tea. The bathrooms are only so-so. People go through the revolving gate five at a time. The crossing seems to go smoothly. We weren’t able to time anyone to see how long it took them to go through because a sick woman waited for us to bring her to Rambam hospital in Haifa. Although we’d made arrangements ahead of time for her to cross in our vehicle, they didn’t exempt her from inspection. We went up to the vehicle inspection shed where the woman and her escort got out and were checked “like at the entrance to a shopping mall.” We went up, were inspected, came down and the gate was opened for us. There’s nothing new under this sun. Let’s hope for the best.