Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
Allah brought rain in a cloudburst over the seamline zone – compensating His believers for their shortage of water. There was less rain on the way back.
It appears that our complaints about the garbage around the container and around the checkpoint area were effective. The area is now clean. Perhaps in doing so we were cooperating with the occupation; on the other hand, one more Palestinian now has work. Ruthi managed to befriend him and his two sons who were helping him clean up.
We met four students from Um A-Reihan who were studying at the American University near Jenin. We usually meet only women students who are going to the university, but evidently the men cross at 10:00, when we are not usually there. Several cars crossed from the seamline zone to the West Bank. One driver was denied [permission to cross] because he forgot his vehicle's license. We did not understand where he forgot it. Several cars brought workers to the checkpoint, going home from work.
We passed by Reihan Checkpoint and continued on to Yaabed. The yellow gate across the road leading to Yaabed was closed. The jeep that is usually parked there is gone. We approached the checkpoint and saw three soldiers completely covered from head to toe with rain gear. One of them appeared to be a woman soldier by her shape and movements. They came out of the olive grove across the road. The checkpoint itself is open and cars going to Jenin pass without being stopped, but pause only to allow a car going in the opposite direction to pass. A military jeep emerges from the checkpoint and stops near the soldiers. We would see it on the back standing in its usual place opposite the yellow gate. When the soldiers approach the checkpoint their comrades call to them from the tower. The checkpoint is manned, but only from above. This is either because of the rain or because there is no point in checking traffic going to Jenin.
We passed 11 loaded trucks which were waiting to be checked on the following morning. The parking lot opposite Zibda, on the hill, is already full. We parked on the seamline zone side and walked down the sleeve to the terminal together with the Palestinians returning from work. It is good that there is a roof over the sleeve and we got less wet. Palestinians were walking on the road in running water.
People are going through the turnstile at the entrance to the terminal without stopping. They asked us again to come to Irtah Checkpoint in the morning to see how difficult it is to cross. Workers who went through here this morning stop next to the machines and run their cards through. The rest pass through without stopping, just like the rain. We stopped by the mobile "Bonjour" kiosk on our way back. The kiosk belongs to settlers from Hermesh. It is parked here so that they can sell refreshments to Palestinians coming out of the sleeve and to anyone outside, such as the checkpoint staff or settlers waiting for a ride. The woman working inside says that business is good.
Just like at any international border crossing, there is a selection – Hani's stand in the lower parking lot that is open in the early morning, the two coffee vendors with thermos jugs inside the sleeve, and the settlers' kiosk. If only the checkpoint were located on the green line, we would be satisfied that this is a typical border crossing.