Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
Tura Shaked Checkpoint, 15:10
It is very hot. The air is perfectly still. Nevertheless, we were met with two surprises from two different places.
The first was a military vehicle which pulled up next to us with an officer from the Liaison and Coordination Administration, and two young women who served with him. They had evidently just completed their officers' course for working at the checkpoints. The friendly officer evidently wanted them to get acquainted with us, as a part of the checkpoints' scene. They reported that they had met a woman from MachsomWatch who had impressed them (probably Hanna Burg). We added our own comments about the hardships the Palestinians endure regarding obtaining and renewing permits, not being permitted to enter Israel, for unknown reasons, the hardship of making a living in general, and the difficulties due to the renewal of permits in particular. We also told them a bit about our organization, about the help with the bureaucracy in reversing refusals to enter Israel, etc. We talked about the Palestinian village of Dahar Al Malak near the checkpoint, which still has not been connected to electricity, and where people are not permitted to build homes, about the lack of any progress regarding these issues, and the way soldiers, as well as strict women officers, relate to Palestinians - who are people just like us.
The second surprise was the head of the village of Tura, coming from the West Bank to the seamline zone on a tractor tailing a water tank. He explained that people were beginning to plant tobacco and he was bringing water to the fields. He complained that during the past month nine young men had been arrested at the checkpoint. The soldiers arrest them at the checkpoint when they are on their way to work, rather than enter their homes in the village. Other young people have permits to go out to work and plant tobacco, but are afraid to go lest they be arrested at the checkpoint.
15:55 – Yaabed Dotan Checkpoint
It is extremely hot, and soldiers dressed in flak jackets ask us if we need water. We tell them that we have water with us, and we suffer from the heat less than the soldiers because we are wearing light summer clothing.
A large water tank is blocking the road, evidently transferring water to the tank inside the building. Traffic is being diverted to the dirt road. Cars are not being checked. Whoever is going to Barta'a will be checked at the next checkpoint anyway. Why is it necessary to have this checkpoint at all?
16:30 – Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint
All the parking lots on the Palestinian side are completely full. There are many people walking down the fenced-in sleeve who are coming home from work. We noticed the bars on the turnstile and people continue to complain that their feet are hit by the revolving turnstile. The two biometers that we can see are both operating and we don't see any delays.