Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked

Leah Richman and Neta Golan, Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham


05:40 – Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint, Seamline Zone Side

Workers are waiting for their rides and other cars are waiting for passengers.  People tell us that crossing is slow and it takes a half hour inside the terminal, and the checkpoint has become more crowded in recent months.  People are streaming out of the terminal and walking to meet their rides.  The coffee vendor at the entrance has a competitor – a mobile kiosk called "Bonjour – Straight from the Oven" that belongs to a settler from Chermesh, who sells coffee and snacks to the Palestinians inside the sleeveinfo-icon and to anyone passing by the roadside. He explains that he came to Chermesh to improve his standard of living rather than for ideological reasons.   


Two windows are operating inside the terminal.  It is not crowded inside, but people report that it takes about a half hour to go through.  We meet our friends the seamstresses, who are pretty and smiling as usual.  They, too, complain about the slow passage.


06:20 –Reihan Barta'a Checkpoint, Palestinian Side

The lower parking lot is not yet full.  Three motorcycles are parked among the cars.  People continue to arrive in a slow trickle and disappear into the terminal in groups of five. Seven small trucks are waiting to be checked.  A person tells us about an unfortunate family from Jenin, with six children, the oldest of whom is twelve years old, who were orphaned when both of their parents were electrocuted.  A neighbor is taking care of them as best she can.  The man thinks that we can help.  We have no idea how to help other than to send some money to the neighbor.


07:05 – Shaked Tura Checkpoint

The gatesinfo-icon of the checkpoint are open.  Two schoolchildren cross immediately.  The school principal and two teachers, riding in his car, cross quickly.   At 07:10 the first people cross to the seamline zone.  They report that about 40 people are waiting and that crossing is "going OK, the girls are working quickly." 

One of the people says that he is 26 years old, has three children, and lives in Tura, the village near the checkpoint.  He has studied accounting in the American University at Bazbada near Jenin. He says he can get work in his profession in Ramallah, which is far away, and earn about NIS 2,300 each month.  He prefers to work in the chicken factory in Um-A-Reihan nearby, where he earns about NIS 3,000 a month.


A man crosses, leaning on a friend and limping badly.  He was injured at work yesterday in East Barta'a.  The doctor said that he was all right.  He is waiting for a ride to Barta'a where he will work sitting in a store.  The young children arrive on foot, dressed up and lovely as always.  Some are holding bouquets of flowers, and we don't know whether there is a special reason for this.  

We left at 07:30.


The entire area is covered by fog.  Everything appears as gray shadows – appropriate for the strange atmosphere that prevails here.