Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
Tura – Shaked Checkpoint, 06:45
We are used to arriving at 07:00 when the checkpoint opens. We read in previous reports that there have been numerous delays recently in opening the checkpoint, but we tried. We walked about the open checkpoint on the seamline zone side. We saw a "living room" with a square table and chair and a soft drinks vending machine. We saw the cars waiting on the Palestinian side of the checkpoint and people waiting to get to work.
A civilian vehicle carrying reservists arrived 30 minutes late to open the checkpoint. Several men and women soldiers on active duty followed them. People who work in the Shahak Industrial zone usually begin work at 07:00, when there is very little traffic at the checkpoint. This time the waiting continued until 08:00. On the other hand, people tell us that they crossed quickly because they merely have to place their finger on the biometer rather than cross via the machine. However, we saw one man fastening his belt after having been asked to remove it because of the metal parts.
A large truck arrives to take the vending machine away. It is a private business and it is not worth it for them to keep it here. As usual, the area around the checkpoint is covered with litter.
Reihan – Barta'a
We passed the lower parking lot of the Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint on our way to Dotan, and it was empty except for one red car. The reservists told us that the parking lot is being renovated today and cars are not allowed to park there. We saw that there was more than the usual amount of cars parked along the locked yellow gates near the bridge and along the other side of the road near Zibda. We also saw people coming down the road towards the terminal from Zibda where there was evidently another large parking lot. Soldiers were also standing at the Emricha junction telling people that they needed to park elsewhere because the parking lot at Reihan - Barta'a was closed.
Later we talked with people coming up the sleeve from the terminal. The people selling coffee at the end of the sleeve are no longer there. Possibly they were asked to leave and only the kiosk belonging to the settlers was allowed to stay. They have a better spot in the middle of the sleeve and a window through which Palestinians can buy coffee on their way out of the terminal. The checkpoint workers and settlers have direct access to the kiosk from the outside of the sleeve. Evidently business is good.
Several Palestinians passed carrying cups of coffee they had bought for NIS 5 (perhaps latte) and paper bags with some sort of cake. I imagine the large spaces reserved for buses that never come here being eliminated, and perhaps concrete separators between the rows of spaces reserved for private cars like in any typical parking lot at a shopping mall. The renovations are supposed to take only one day.
Yaabed – Mevo Dotan
People are picking tobacco and hanging the leaves up to dry. There is a large puddle on the way to Mevo Dotan from a burst pipe at the facility where water is pumped from Mekorot to the Palestinian Authority. We called the Liaison and Coordination Administration and were told that they know about it and it will be taken care of. The soldier at the checkpoint informed us that it was just water for the Palestinians and therefore not important. We informed him of the importance of water to the entire area.