Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked

Leah Reichman, Neta Golan (Reporting), Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham



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

Dozens of workers are waiting for rides.  Among them are our friends the seamstresses, who are waiting at the upper end of the sleeveinfo-icon.  We walk down to the terminal where many workers are coming out, all of whom are pleased. They report that they had gone through quickly.  Despite this the sight of people coming out threading their belts back through the loops in their pants is not pleasant, and we are reminded that this is a checkpoint that has no business being here.


Six vans loaded with various merchandise going from the West Bank to the seamline zone are waiting in front of the vehicle inspection facility, and 12 more are waiting on the road.


06:15 – Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint, Palestinian Side
We have scheduled meetings with three people, each having to do with a different matter.  One of our old acquaintance, M., tells us that his young son received a work permit for East Barta'a in the seamline zone.  He talks about the economic boost in Barta'a and says that it was once like that in East Bakka, until the separation barrier between East Bakka and Nazlat Issa and West Bakka was put up.  He feels that the fence at Barta'a should be moved to the 1967 border (the green line).  I think this is a rather daring statement that conflicts with the opinions of most residents of Barta'a.

Meanwhile the six vans have entered the inspection facility.


07:00 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint
The shift of soldiers is marching to the checkpoint and even greets us with "good morning".  To our surprise people are not crossing.  It appears they are waiting for someone to bring the key. 


At 07:15 the schoolchildren, the teacher in his car, and the others cross from the seamline zone to the West Bank. 


07:25 – The first person crosses from the West Bank to the seamline zone.  The man works in the Shahak Industrial Zone in the Profillan factory.   He has to begin work at 07:30 but this morning he is going to be late.  He reports that no one makes any trouble in the factory if he is late because they know there are sometimes problems at the checkpoint.  


We hear shouting.  The delay in opening the checkpoint has aggravated everyone.  Someone reports that the woman soldier in the inspection booth is new and particularly slow.  A goat herdsman whom we see often crosses without his flock.  We were concerned that there was a problem getting the herd across, but he showed us a letter from the Civilian Administration to the Center for the Defense of the Individual stating that shepherds were permitted to cross with their flocks.  Today he is crossing without the flock because he also works in construction.  


We ended the shift at a restaurant at Um–A-Reihan.  Business is evidently flourishing.  They are building a second storey and next to it they have already built a coffee house.  We wish them success!