Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan, Sun 2.6.13, Afternoon

Observers: 
Ruthi T., Hassida S. (Reporting)
02/06/2013
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Afternoon

Translation: Bracha B.A.

 

The weather was extremely hot, and our shift passed without any unusual incidents.

 

Shaked – Tura Checkpoint 15:40

This checkpoint is known in laundered military language as a "fabric of life" checkpoint, and is designated to allow residents of the Palestinian villages to continue with their daily lives despite the barrier that separates them from their families, and farmers from their fields.  This is accomplished by allowing anyone who has a valid permit and anyone who is not carrying anything forbidden – to cross the checkpoint.  All the gatesinfo-icon of the checkpoint are open. At this time of day a few people are crossing in both directions. 

Two ten-year-old children, carrying plastic bags, cross and sit on the bench in the shelter near the gate (a container with one side cut open). An older man sits next to them. A student from the American University in Jenin is also waiting on the bench.  They are waiting for a ride.  The older man seemed to be explaining to the children about us, about human rights, and about the soldiers' behavior.

 

A ride arrives: the same driver who takes the children to school in the morning picks them up in the afternoon.  He has to make a living. He has a problem related to making a living: he has a field of tobacco on the seamline zone side.  The leaves must be brought to Jenin to be cut and processed.  Only four people have permits to transport tobacco leaves to the West Bank, but he has no such permit.  (Perhaps an agricultural permit).  This is possibly the reason he is not permitted to transport his tobacco.   This incident has beeen publicized last week.  We gave him Hannah's phone number, perhaps she can help. 

 

The older man sent the children back to the West Bank.  He, the student, and another woman left with the children's driver.  Meanwhile the children, carrying their bags, appear on the other side of the fence in front of the turnstile, before the roadblock, and we see after a few minutes that they were not allowed to cross and come back. Ruthi attempts to find out why they were sent back.  It appears that they had cigarettes in their bags, which were declared by the army to be an amount for commercial sale.  We instinctively oppose young children smuggling cigarettes, but then we realize that people here are attempting to make a living and that this is what the "fabric of life" is supposed to allow.  But a driver is not allowed to grow tobacco; whoever has a permit to visit family is not allowed to sell cigarettes, since he is not defined as a merchant. If I were able to speak to someone in the Liaison and Coordination Administration perhaps I would be given a more logical explanation.

We passed Reihan Barta'a checkpoint and continued on to the Dotan checkpoint, to leave used clothing in the Bedouin village of Emricha. 

 

16:00 Yaabed – Dotan Checkpoint

A white military ambulance is standing at the Mevo Dotan Junction and another passes in the same direction. An armed soldier is standing in the paved area behind the low wall.  It appears that there is some sort of exercise in progress.

A reservist invites us to stand near the concrete barriers where we always stand.  We will supposedly be safer there, despite the fact that we are not allowed to stand inside the checkpoint.  We stayed for only a few minutes.  Vehicles were passing in both directions without any delay.

 

16:40 Reihan Barta'a Checkpoint

Workers and merchants arrive from Barta'a on their way home alone or in small groups.  The turnstile is no longer closing in people's faces after only a few people come in.  Only one inspector is working in one window but apparently she has succeeded in operating it from both directions.  People cross quickly without delay.