Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Sun 15.9.13, Morning
06:20 – Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint
Five trucks are waiting to be checked at the top of the hill. The lower parking lot is still empty at this hour. About 20 people are waiting at the entrance to the terminal and disappear inside within three minutes. Everyone who arrives from the West Bank cross through without any delay. At 06:35 a family arrives with four small children carrying bags of food. The inner entrance to the terminal is crowded, but at 06:45 everyone has gone inside. At the upper entrance yellow taxis and white transits are waiting for workers to come out of the terminal. At 06:48 a car comes out of the vehicle inspection facility, which is open, but there are no other cars waiting to be checked. A blue awning has been put up at the eastern side of the truck inspection facility, but there is no traffic. At 06:50 the family with the small children crosses to the seamline zone. Someone tells us that they were permitted to pass through in front of the workers. B., who works in the carpet factors, arrives and tells us that there are a lot of people inside but that people are moving through quickly. The Yom Kippur song "We Have Sinned Before You" mixed with someone shouting is heard from the truck inspection facility. B. and two of his friends take a ride with me to the Shahak Industrial Zone, where I finally see where the famous carpet factory is.
07:10 – Shaked – Tura Checkpoint
Many children arrive at the checkpoint from Dar Al Malakh. No vehicles are permitted to cross the checkpoint today because there is no electricity because the generator is broken, and the complicated system of pillars that emerge from the road to prevent cars from driving through cannot be raised and lowered. Everyone must walk across and drivers have to leave their cars on the Tura side. Several of the workers from Shahak ask me to give them a ride to a metal factory.
On the way they tell me that the owner has deprived them of basic rights that are offered to Palestinian workers in other factories nearby. When they talk to him about it he threatens to fire them. When I suggested that they call the workers' hotline they are not eager to use the service. Afterwards they called me and asked me not to do anything, and if there were problems they would call me.
On the way back to Tura Checkpoint I see that the overflowing garbage container has finally been emptied, but the area around it is littered with food trays, .paints, and cake boxes from a bakery in Pardes Hanna. The checkpoint commander, a tall and polite sergeant, promises that he will take care of the litter. At 08:15 a "hummer" arrives from the West Bank to cross and drives around the checkpoint over the dirt road that leads to the lone house, and returns to the checkpoint. I ask to talk with the soldiers and they stop. I ask what is being done about the broken generator. The woman driver accuses me that "all we are the negative things." The officer, on the other hand, tells me that the generator was not operating yesterday, and that the checkpoint was open on Yom Kippur. "See, we also do good things." I refer them to our website, where they can read positive comments about the soldiers despite the occupation, which is negative.
At 08:30 a herd of goats crosses the checkpoint and immediately begins to eat the tobacco plants. The leaves have already been picked, but they eat the fruits and seeds that have grown at the top of the plants. I photograph them and an officer immediately sends someone to prevent me from taking pictures. Two hitchhikers accompany me to Um-A-Reihan.