We drove two patients from Rambam Hospital to the Jalameh checkpoint. On our way to the Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint we drove in back of a truck loaded with pipes that we were unable to overtake until we reached Tura, and were forced to shorten our shift. We therefore did not visit the Yaabed Dotan Checkpoint, where there are usually no soldiers at this hour of the day.
Tura Shaked Checkpoint, 15:30
This checkpoint is well equipped, with electric spikes, a stoplight, and even a crosswalk (which is faded). However, not many people are permitted to cross here. While we were there observing, 14 people crossed in both directions, as well as one donkey. On the way to the checkpoint there is a deep crack in the road and two concrete roadblocks are there to slow down traffic. It has been this way for several years. Is it not possible to mend the crack in the road? Who does the road belong to? To the IDF?
16:00 – Reihan Barta'a Checkpoint
Crowds of Palestinians are walking towards the turnstile on their way home from work in the seamline zone of in Israel. They are happy and cheerful, since people no longer have to cross through the terminal on their way home from work but simply walk through the turnstile outside straight to the taxis or cars. Come to Irtah in the morning, they say, there things are more difficult. Not everyone who works in Israel is permitted to cross here in the morning. People who live close by nevertheless have to cross at other checkpoints such as Irtah where thousands of people cross in crowded, inhuman conditions. They are only permitted to return home through this checkpoint. Here things move smoothly in the afternoon. Some people say that the limited number of people who are permitted to cross here stems from the pressure imposed by people who work in Barta'a, and who are not willing for there to be crowds here as there are at Irtah. Workers who work in the seamline zone have to be checked inside the terminal and it is often crowded. There are mechanical failures and people are held up, and people beat on the walls and shout. We are told that the mechanical failures are being dealt with, but are controlled from Tel Aviv.
I have been coming here for many years, and I still don't understand what goes on here or why.