'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked
"How are the people of peace doing?"
15:00 – A'anin Checkpoint
The soldiers arrived on time. Only two tractors and a half a dozen people are waiting. After 15 minutes two other tractors arrive. Is the small number of people today due to the fact that permits have to be renewed? Mahmud says that people have permits to cross but are not coming. He wishes us a happy holiday and is interested in the customs of the Passover holiday.
15:25 – Tura Shaked Checkpoint
There is a family-like atmosphere at the checkpoint. Most of the people crossing are women and their children.
16:00 Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint
A wedding band is waiting for a ride. They are invited to play at a wedding at Kfar Kana near Nazareth. Congratulations!
A family dressed in holiday clothes goes down to the terminal. Workers are walking up the same route but are able to cross on the side of the terminal without having their papers checked. This is a right reserved for workers who work in Israel. On the other hand, workers who are returning from work in the seamline zone must cross through the terminal. A line forms next to the inspection windows. It is not a long line, but nevertheless irritating. Many people greet us and wish us a happy holiday. One person asks us in fluent Hebrew, "How are the people of peace doing?"
17:00 – Baaka Checkpoint
A military policeman tries to make us leave and claims that this is a closed military zone and we are not allowed to be there. We explain to him that he is mistaken but he is not convinced, but moves aside. A polite soldier takes an interest in MachsomWatch. He explains that Palestinians from Nazlet Isa as well as Israeli Arabs cross here. He is new here and does not know who is permitted to cross here. At morning and noon school children from Nazlet Isa cross here whose houses are "stuck" on the wrong side of the separation barrier.
The checkpoint is open from 06:00 until 22:00. There is an agricultural checkpoint slightly to the north of here.
While we were observing the checkpoint, forklifts cross through. One is carrying agricultural produce and another is headed for the stalls in the parking lot near the separation barrier on the Israeli side. Two girls cross to meet their father who is on the other side of the fence.
Note: the separation barrier in this area was originally built further east, behind East (Palestinian) Baaka. In 2004 a fence was built on the green line (West Baaka, on the Israeli side) and the fence further east was demolished. The new barrier, which partially consists of a high wall, had annexed several homes which were built in Nazlet Isa after the inclusion into the Israeli section of Baaka. These homeowners are Palestinian citizens who live on Israeli land but their children attend school in Palestine. This is another chapter in the Theater of the Absurd that is the occupation.
On our way home at 17:30 we are impressed with the main street of the Israeli section of Baaka, which is busy, crowded, and well-kept.