Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
7:30 – 8:00 Tura- Shaked
The checkpoint is open. Without delay, traffic is moving in both directions and there are no people waiting at the turnstiles. Evidently, they opened on time this morning and the soldiers have returned to their posts, a normal day in Israel.
The tobacco plants are stripped of their leaves already; millions of squills are blooming in Wadi Ara; it is cloudy with a few drops of rain.
8:10 -8:35 Barta'a-Reihan
As usual, a lot of traffic but everything is going smoothly. The parking lot is full and many cars are parking along the road. Two checking posts are open and the line is moving forward quickly. When we leave there is no line any longer and it looks as if everyone has passed through. We timed it and it takes 12 minutes for 2 people to cross.
We decide to check what is happening at Ya'bed-Dotan. When we drive east to the Palestinian side at Barta'a, we meet Mary with her brother and father. They are on their way to Umm-al-Fachem, where Mary gets physiotherapy on a regular basis. According to her father (if we understand correctly) they are now coming from Ya'bed, where everything is working smoothly. Nevertheless, we decide to have a look.
On the way to Ya'bed, there are tobacco fields on both sides of the road. Some of them are still green and waiting to be harvested while others have already been ploughed over. The tobacco factory is filled with bales. At the checkpoint, an army vehicle is parked and a line of about 12 cars is waiting to be checked and drive on towards the checkpoint at Barta'a. We watch from a distance as the cars drive through at a quick pace. After ten minutes, there are only two cars left. We leave too.