A clear spring Saturday; someone who can forget momentarily the distress they confront daily may notice the almond trees and anemones in bloom.
07:55-08:20 Tura-Shaked checkpoint
It’s almost empty at this hour, a few pedestrians and families crossing from one side to the other, quickly, without delays.
08:30-09:00 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint
We meet Amjad and his baby daughter Mari in the parking lot, and a few minutes later Miki arrives to give them a ride to the physiotherapist in Umm el Fahm.
The checkpoint, as usual, is crowded and full of life everywhere. The morning congestion is over, everyone’s hurrying on their way, polite and smiling. One man tells us, “It’s good you came; it makes things go quickly; come every day.” But it seems to us it’s just the time of day. Many are crossing in each direction; it appears that people are going through quickly but we weren’t able to time them.
This is the 10th (!) anniversary of my work in Machsom Watch. A huge difference from the exposed, unprotected checkpoints, the long lines in the rain and hamsin, people arriving without a permit, the arguments with the soldiers, the many detainees in plastic handcuffs blindfolded for hours on the roadside - compared to the revolving gates, fences, huge structures, fingerprints, shiny roads, the sparkling facilities operating like clockwork. What can I say – today it’s much more depressing. That all indicates it will be here forever. I see the little children going through the checkpoint to visit their grandmother, and those who crossed ten years ago are now grown, who’ve seen checkpoints their whole life and haven’t known any other reality. What despair!