Translation: Bracha B.A.
Shaked – Tura Checkpoint – 07:30-08:00
There is very little traffic today in both directions. A policewoman from the military police and a soldier from the engineering corps, who is currently manning the checkpoints, approach us and ask us to move back. We stand in our usual position that doesn't bother anyone and remain there.
Yaabed Dotan Checkpoint 08:15-08:45
Today we crossed in our car at the "red" area and drove to the Yaabed Dotan checkpoint, to show our guests what the reality here is like. The checkpoint is manned and cars are waiting in both directions for permission to cross. We had heard about roadblocks along this road which had been removed, but there are still coils of barbed wire in place.
Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint 09:00-09:30
The checkpoint is crowded as usual, vehicle and pedestrian traffic in both directions. At this relatively late hour it appears that traffic is moving without delay, but several people coming out of the terminal inform us that it took a half hour for them to get through. We saw that there is now padding on the bars of the turnstile, to prevent people from getting hurt when they pass through.
Translator: Charles K.
Two tales of evil and indifference.
06:05 A’anin checkpoint
Residents of A’anin came through the checkpoint at a steady but slow rate. The soldiers behaved “correctly,” but carefully inspected every little, crumpled sack. “They don’t let you cross if you have too much food,” says one, adding proudly: “I’m an Arab; I like to eat a lot of bread!” But a lot of bread is suspicious, festive clothing is evidence of hidden motives, and a cell phone charger in the pocket must be preparation for a terror attack. You really have to see how the locals deal with the soldiers’ increasing vigilance, their growing mistrust.
Evil: M. exits. He doesn’t ask this time whether we’ve brought clothing for him. Last week they made trouble for him when he returned in the afternoon to the village with bargains he’d found or bought for pennies in the seam zone, including clothing he said he’d received from Machsom Watch women. Last Monday (May 6), his crossing permit was confiscated as punishment for his vain, repeated attempts to bring in a TV he’d bought for NIS 30 and sacks of clothes. They took the permit and ordered him to go to the Salem DCO to obtain a new one. The following day, Tuesday, M. went to the Salem DCO, waited fruitlessly in the corridor for five hours; then they said, “Now go home and come back Sunday to arrange for the permit.” P., the Salem DCO officer, explained me that they did so to teach M. a lesson so that he’d think twice before trying to bring items through an agricultural crossing "that are not permitted there, in agricultural barrier". Chana helped us to transmit an immediate, sharp verbal complaint to Civil Administration officials who intervened and ordered the DCO to return M.’s permit right away. A day latter, Thursday, M. went and obtained the precious permit without delay.
06:40 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint
We drive here on fine, broad roads built by the occupiers, and they’re completely empty.
15 commercial vehicles loaded with fruits and vegetables waited for inspection. Laborers walked up through the fenced corridor and exited to the seam zone.
06:50 Dothan-Yabed checkpoint
The roadblock on the road through the olive grove to Yabed has been removed; pupils from Amrikha and the surrounding area walked to school. The checkpoint is manned; cars go through in both directions with barely an inspection. On the other hand, they picked an official Palestinian Authority pickup truck for a careful inspection. A ragged, dirty Israeli flag flaps in the wind.
07:10 Tura-Shaked checkpoint
Where’s the money, asked Yair Lapid (Minister of Finance, not long ago quite naïve journalist), So here is part of the answer: It’s spread around the ugly little Tura checkpoint that’s bursting with a dizzying abundance of lanes and passages arranged like a stockade. They’re all completely unnecessary and the reason for them is obvious: corruption. On days that the soldiers forget to bring the keys to all the checkpoint’s locks and the computer isn’t working pedestrians and cars go through the checkpoint without any special inspection, crossing is quick and efficient and everyone’s happy – maybe even the soldiers.
A ragged Israeli flag flaps here as well.
Indifference: S. lives in Tura. He has five daughters and one son. When the son was 12 ½ years old he threw rocks near the checkpoint, was jailed for two months and received a suspended sentence for a certain period which elapsed. Twelve years passed, the boy is today a married man and he recently had a son who was named for the proud grandfather. He’s been blacklisted by the Shabak since that time and isn’t able to cross to the seam zone. Attempts to remove the Shabak’s black mark have been unsuccessful. The separation fence cut the family’s lands in two; they’re located near the checkpoint, but on the wrong side. S. is getting old and needs his only son’s help in the farm work. But who cares.
Translation: Yael Bassis-Student
6:00 Barta'a-Rihan checkpoint
Many people who had crossed from the West Bank into the Seam Line zone are waiting from transportation at the upper car park.
Workers come out of the terminal through the sleeve in a fast pace. We spoke with the person in charge of the shift in regards to the opening of the gate on Fridays at 07:00. He claims that this hour was agreed upon by the people of Barta'a and managers of factories at the Shahak industrial zone, to everyone's satisfaction. He thinks that those crossing now hadn'tunderstood this new arrangement and continue coming at an early hour, thus creating crowding at the gate.
B., who works at the carpet factory, told us that one problem is the change of shift, which holds up the passage, and another problem has to do with the late hour at which people working in Israel return home. In Israel the work day ends early on Friday. The Israeli employers won't accept his workers being late on Fridays, so they must get up early and cross on time through the Jalama checkpoint, North, or through the Irtach checkpoint.
7:10 Tura-Shaked checkpoint
Only now the gate opens and there are already crowding and shoutingby the turnstile. Schoolchildren and students go through immediately and cross in the direction of the West Bank.
Vehicles cross on both sides, passage is swift.
People who go into the Seam line zone complain, once again, that one of the female soldiers double-inspects them.
7:40 Exit from the inspection cabin (the computer cabin) is extremely slow and by the checkpoint some cars have been waiting for 30 minutes to take the workers who are detain inside.
Translated by Dvora K.
06:15 - 07:15 A'anin
The people going through are encountering soldiers who are, in their words, 'not nice [not OK]'. A woman wanted to go through with her 3-years-old daughter. She was allowed to go through by herself. The child remained behind. WHY?
A young man who wanted to return to A'anin, was refused. He should come back at 1500. Why not now? Because in the morning you are supposed to leave and you are supposed to return in the afternoon. Things must be done in an orderly manner.
Somebody calls me. They are not allowing him to go through even though he has a valid permit. Why? There are reasons. The woman soldier at the DCO tries to help, but does not succeed. Apparently the agricultural permits are no longer valid.
Many people are present. The passage is quite slow. Vehicles are going through to the West Bank.
A man from Umm-el-Reihan and myself agreed that we, Palestinians and Israelis, are all the same; we all want the same things - to work and to live in peace. But there are others for whom this is not suitable. This man speaks Hebrew well. It was great to talk to him.
Most of the people have gone through: children, teachers. A young fellow with a donkey and a wagon is trying to transport some packages. A happy dog accompanies them. A herd of goats goes through all together and part from one another close to the fence. Birds are singing. A pastoral picture.
On the radio you can hear thundering voices. I only understand the word 'Hizballah' - I hear Israel, Hizballah, Israel, Hizballah over and over again.
07:55-08:15 Barta'a - Reihan
There are so many cars in the parking lot that it is hard to maneuver one's way even on foot. The passage is full of people. Ten pickup trucks are waiting for inspection. I give a ride to two parents and a 4-year-old who has been undergoing orthopedic operations at Rambam since he was born. A sweet child. He smiles at me.
North, 5.5.13, morning
Ruti T., Hasida S. (reporting)
Translator: Charles K.
06:40-07:45 Tura-Shaked checkpoint
We arrived early, about 20 minutes before it opened. The entry gate is wide open but the facilities and fenced corridors within are still closed. A youth comes from the direction of the solitary house; he’ll later cross to Tura. The gate to Tura is still closed and locked; some 20 people are grouped before it. We made a brief tour (that harmed no one) inside the gleaming checkpoint area, filled with installations: fenced corridors on either side through which people enter and leave, sheds of different heights, traffic lights which aren’t lit, empty locations for soldiers who’ll arrive exactly at 07:00 in a military vehicle that looks to us like those used for transporting prisoners.
The checkpoint opens. The first to cross are drivers headed to the West Bank – a school principal and the driver of the pupils’ transportation. After a brief document inspection they return and re-enter the checkpoint with their vehicles. Now the cars are inspected. Meanwhile, the children have gone through on foot and wait for the driver next to the gate on the Tura side.
07:10 The first person crosses from the West Bank to the seam zone. The first car also comes through. We hear annoyed voices from the fenced corridor on the Tura side. The computer in the booth is working, everything’s in order, but for some reason the inspections take a long time and by 07:30 only five people have come through. At 07:45 only two people wait at the revolving gate; soon two more join them. Life continues on both sides of the checkpoint. A young woman, a teacher, crosses with her two small children and asks us for a ride to Umm Reihan. On the way she drops off the children with her sister in Khirbet Radayya. Her sister is taking care of them today because their grandmother is ill. These are the same “arrangements” all of us make.
08:10 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint
The Palestinian parking lot is completely full. When we began coming here, in 2003-4, the Barta’a checkpoint was situated south of here, a small checkpoint with two simple gates on either side of the fence and the security road. As the years went by it was moved north and was transformed into a new, huge, sophisticated checkpoint for pedestrians and vehicles, with a modern terminal and also an area for inspecting trucks carrying goods. The checkpoint was privatized in May, 2007, and is run by a civilian security company (supervised by the Ministry of Defense); it’s luxurious, full of decorations, trying to appear like an ordinary border crossing. The old Barta’a checkpoint is still there. For a while it served as an agricultural crossing that opened twice a day; we don’t know whether it’s still operating.
The new Barta’a checkpoint is intended to serve residents of the seam zone who have to cross to the West Bank as well as residents of the West Bank who must reach the seam zone enclave. Five or six villages are trapped in this enclave which has been created by the separation fence winding among the settlements that leaves the villages in Area C, under Israeli control, annexing the Palestinian lands to Area C. The Palestinian village of Barta’a is the largest among them (which accounts for the checkpoint’s name). In addition to people crossing between the West Bank and the seam zone, holders of humanitarian permits also go through here, such as people being treated in Israeli hospitals. Palestinians working in Israel are also allowed to cross here in the afternoon to their homes in the West Bank. And, in fact, the changes at this checkpoint since it was first established reflect the intensification of Israel’s occupation and the ongoing, deliberate taking over of Palestinian land.
08:30 Yabed-Dothan checkpoint
The checkpoint is already manned; two military jeeps park in the new space at its center. A small group of armed soldiers proceeds to the olive grove along the road, apparently on a training exercise.
Traffic flows, cars coming from both directions, from Jenin and its surroundings to the northern seam zone, and back again. A stinking Israeli garbage truck on its way to a dump in the Nablus area, small water tankers pass in both directions (with water for irrigation?). Agricultural produce and other goods go through, as well as trucks on their way home after unloading their cargo.
We also drove home.
Translation: |Bracha B.A.
15:00 – A'anin Checkpoint
The checkpoint opened on time and a few people cross without any problems.
15:20 – Shaked – Tura Checkpoint
All the sophisticated inspection equipment is not operating. In the sleeve (which is locked) people are not entering the inspection booth and all the metal barriers are open. The traffic lights are also not operating. People cross through on the road and are checked quickly in the soldiers' position.
16:10 – Reihan Barta'a Checkpoint, Seamline Zone Side
People are descending the sleeve and disappearing into the terminal. Padding has been added to the bars of the turnstile to prevent people from being injured when there is a crowd. There is presently no crowd. One person remarks, "What a checkpoint today, wonderful." An elderly man crosses through this "wonderful" checkpoint towards the seamline zone wearing a suit and holding his belt in his hand. Another person is disappointed with the drinking fountain that is not producing cold water today. He asks that we see to it that another drinking fountain is installed.
A detainee was waiting on the bench inside the terminal throughout the time we observed the checkpoint.
Two Palestinian workers are working at the end of the sleeve near the entrance to the terminal. Evidently they are building a path that will allow people to return to the West Bank without passing through the terminal, such as the one at Jalameh or Shaarei Efraim.
16:50 – We walk up the sleeve towards the parking lot. People coming down greet us on the way.
Naomi Gal translation
Turah-Shaked Checkpoint 16.00
The computer is out of order, so no need to pass through the sleeve and stop at the pavilion. Everyone is being checked in the vehicles' booth and the passage is easy and fast. One of the passers complains to us that in the morning there is a woman soldier at the checkpoint who behaves rudely.
Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint - 16.30
Two posts are active. Families with children are returning from Jenin; passage of the workers to the other side runs smoothly.
16:50 - the stream of returning workers has increased but the passage is fast and problem-free. Many Israeli cars are bringing workers in. The workers tell us that on Fridays the checkpoint still opens only at 7AM and that congestion and commotion abound. .
North, 29.4.13, afternoon
Leah R., Anna N.S.
Translator: Charles K.
15:15 A’anin agricultural gate (on the separation fence, for farmers cut off from their land by the fence)
The checkpoint opens at 15:00. Those waiting said that about 25 people had crossed by the time we arrived, all residents of A’anin returning home after working outside the village. A few tractors loaded with scrap also waited. Everyone was tired. It’s hot, and particularly hot at this hour.
The soldiers inspect every item in the bags people carry. The young men cross last; it’s not clear why. Gradually, everyone but M. goes through. His tractor is loaded with used mattresses, old blankets and some broken plastic chairs. The soldiers aren’t letting him bring the load across. M. asks, pleads, explains how much he needs the goods, tells them how poor he is, how many troubles: “I have seven children and no money,” he says and displays his ID card. It doesn’t help. The soldiers stick to the rules. Correction: there are rules, regulations, laws passed by the Knesset, but there’s also common sense and judgment. But the soldiers insist: only agricultural produce is allowed through an agricultural checkpoint. M. points to his ten year old son sitting next to him on the tractor, describes a school trip to Ramallah which he couldn’t join because M. couldn’t pay the fee. The soldiers don’t care. He removes the blue independence day cap his son is wearing and shows it to the soldiers. “Do you know what this is, huh?” he asks. “I love peace, I love Jews…” M. continues to beg; his humiliation and this ridiculous argument over a pile of junk are heartrending. What must M. think of us? What’s going through his head?
I want to photograph the tractor and controversial pile of junk but M. refuses, and I back down. When the soldiers move to close the checkpoint he unloads the broken plastic chairs next to the fence and goes through. He’s followed at the last minute by three more Palestinians after they were interrogated.
I’ll forgo quoting the crude pearls of racism and ignorance we heard from the soldiers who aren’t aware of the fact that it’s occupied territory. Here’s what one soldier said, more or less: We’re strong. We have weapons, so it’s ours.
A Palestinian sanitation worker collected the garbage around the checkpoint.
16:00 Tura-Shaked checkpoint (a “fabric of life” checkpoint between Palestinian villages in Area C)
Only a few people and one vehicle crossed to the West Bank during the quarter-hour we were there. Only two people crossed to the seam zone.
16:20 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint (the largest checkpoint in the area, with a large terminal; it’s been privatized)
More than 200 people crowd next to the fenced corridor to the upper terminal entrance. The checkpoint is closed! It’s training time! The DCO didn’t know when the checkpoint would open. People say they’ve been waiting about an hour. Soldiers in a military vehicle who were also waiting said the exercise will be over within 15 minutes. People are tired after a day of work, they crowd at the checkpoint, it’s hot, unpleasant, they’re even too tired to complain.
The checkpoint opens ten minutes later and the mass of people returning flowed through the fenced corridor to the terminal and out to the Palestinian parking lot. The waiting vehicles also crossed. The taxi drivers in the Palestinian parking lot waited together; one prayed. People described their hardships to us; they have many, in particular the fact that no one helps them, not the Palestinian authority, not the occupiers, nor us either.
17:00 We left.
Rochela H., Noa L., (Reporting)
Translation: Bracha B.A.
Shaked – Tura Checkpoint, 07:20-07:50
The checkpoint is crowded and there is a lot of traffic, moving quickly in both directions. There are lots of vehicles passing through, which is unusual for Saturday. The herd of goats also passes through without any problem. One man tells us that he has a permit which is valid for the next two months, and that he crosses almost every day to tend his fields, without any problem. On the other hand, when he does not appear for a day or two and then comes back, he is refused entry and is sent to the Liaison and Coordination Administration. A short time ago he and his family received a permit to spend three nights in the seamline zone to attend a wedding. He chose to return home each night and not stay, and he was consequently detained at the checkpoint again. It appears that no matter what happens, there will always be a way to harass people for no reason, simply because we can.
Yaabed – Dotan – 08:10-09:00
We drove to the Yaabed Checkpoint today to deliver used clothing and baby items to Amjad (Mari's father) who just had a baby girl. This checkpoint is only manned occasionally on Saturdays and there were soldiers present there today. The Netzach Yehuda religious Nahal brigade is serving there. The crossing was closed and everyone at the checkpoint:
The Palestinian drivers (and we too) received a lesson in military exercises. Soldiers ran around us with weapons drawn, while lines of cars formed on both sides of the checkpoint. We asked why it was necessary to do training exercises now when the checkpoint is filled with traffic. We were told that there have been some shooting incidents here and that the soldiers had to be prepared for any possible incident. After about ten minutes the exercise ended and traffic resumed. We delivered the packages to Amjad and returned to Reihan.
Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint – 09:10-09:20
We descended the sleeve to the terminal and found that everyone had already crossed through and the terminal was now empty. All the parking lots, including the auxiliary ones on the road to Zibda, are all completely full.
Translator: Charles K.
06:10 A’anin checkpoint
Inspections were carried out opposite the entrance gate to the checkpoint, near us. A few people waited at the middle gate to be called for inspection, and from the shouting we heard there must have been a mess at the lower gate. Soon everyone, including the tractors, arrived at the middle gate, and we were told by those exiting that people were shoving, didn’t want to stay in line and that the soldiers got annoyed. A few young men were sent back home after arguments. A man who came through on a horse asked us to help his friend who’d been sent back to the village right before our eyes. Only after the checkpoint closed were we able to talk to a female MP who politely explained that she sends people (mostly younger men) back who appear likely to be planning to remain illegally in Israel: someone with a bag of clothing and a charger for his phone doesn’t intend to come back this afternoon.
Husni, the redhead, approached us – his 8-year old grandson has a blood disease. He has an appointment this coming Sunday at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, but they haven’t yet been able to obtain an entry permit to Israel. With Chana Barg’s help we learned that the appointment doesn’t yet appear in any hospital’s registry. We explained to Husni what he must do; let’s hope he manages to complete the complicated arrangements by Sunday.
People we spoke to said they didn’t trust the Palestinian state or its leadership. What difference will a state make, they said; all the money will stay at the top and we’ll never get what we need or the rights we’re entitled to, like you have.
07:10 Shaked checkpoint
No one went through the checkpoint before 07:20, though officially it opened at 07:00. The people usually crossing at this hour waited at the gate near us – pupils, teachers, government workers, other workers. The soldiers had forgotten the key to the lock of the fenced corridor and everyone waited for it. The soldiers could have taken that into account and let them go through the center of this little checkpoint, but no – ordnung muss sein. The line at the far gate on the Tura side also grew longer. The lines and the mess hadn’t gone away by the time we left.
07:45 Reihan checkpoint
We drove by on our way to the Zebda bridge. The parking lot next to the bridge was full; the number of Palestinian vehicles increases every day and creates a shortage of parking spaces. Nine loaded commercial vehicles stand on the road to the vehicle checkpoint and merchandise inspection station.
09:00 Jalameh checkpoint (Gilbo’a crossing)
A father and son wait for me to drive them to Rambam hospital. They crossed before the 08:50-9:20 break but we can’t leave yet because we must wait for the mother and three-month-old daughter who undergoes daily dialysis at Rambam.
I approach the closed terminal entrance. A guard in the tower who doesn’t realize I’m Israeli calls “Iftah el bab [open the door].” Another guard, armed with a threatening weapon, tells me to move away from the opening because it’s a security area. Meanwhile Palestinians arrive, open the gate in the fence and cross to the West Bank without having to go through the terminal.
09:20 The terminal doors open. Palestinians now arriving cross quickly to the West Bank through the terminal. Some come through in the other direction, to Israel.
09:55 The mother and infant daughter cross accompanied by the father who carries their belongings. The father returns to the terminal and we drive off.
Throughout my stay at the checkpoint there was a flow of cars belonging to Israeli Arabs at the vehicle checkpoint, on their way to the West Bank. People aren’t yet returning to Israel at this hour.