New Barta'a Checkpoint
06:05– People are passing through the terminal without delay. A man, whom we know, who usually crosses at Tura is crossing at Barta'a today. He unlaces his shoes ahead of time because they are steel-toed work shoes, but the loudspeaker announces that there is no need to remove shoes. Most of the people crossing are young workers who are on their way to work at the Shahak Industrial Zone. Later we saw the Shahak workers sitting on their cooler with their food, waiting for a ride on the side of the road. One would think that they could install several benches here for people to wait on.
06:30– We descend the sleeve past silly drawings on the stone wall near the private parking lot for the checkpoint workers and their guests. Perhaps the drawings are there to distract people from the sight of people going through the iron gates. On our way through the sleeve we saw several vans and a Palestinian car entering the inspection area without permission. A soldier scolds the driver, "who told you to drive up? Go back!" The driver appears to be attempting to convince her to let him pass, but he is denied access and has to go back and wait. Five minutes later he is called to the inspection point.
A man on his way to work comes out but after he emerged from the turnstile he remembered that he forgot something inside the terminal next to the inspection window, and asks to go back in. He asks another person to bring him the item, but the inspector insists that he go through the entire inspection process again from the other side. The man is in a hurry and decides to leave the item behind. The rest rooms in the upper parking lot are filthy. There is water on the floor and the doors are left open.
07:03– The soldiers have arrived, but the checkpoint is still closed. Several people, students, and the school principal are all waiting. On the West Bank side, on the other hand, the checkpoint is open and about 20 people are waiting near the inspection booth.
At 07:10 the gate opens on the seamline zone side and schoolchildren arrive on foot. Crossing to the West Bank and to the seamline zone is routine and without delay and only the usual checks are being carried out. One person tells us that he has crossed every morning using the same permit but yesterday they looked at his permit and refused to let him cross. Today he crossed without any problem. When he asked why he was refused entry the day before yesterday, he was told to ask at the Liaison and Coordination Administration. These are trivial matters that seem unimportant, but for Palestinians they are part of a daily struggle against constant harassment and degradation. They create a lack of confidence about the future, and people who are dependent upon the whims of soldiers who offer no explanations or apologies for delays. This behavior is not with evil intention, but is nevertheless degrading.
We left at 07:45.