A massive number of cars, and of people: the Barta’a checkpoint is crowded and congested this morning. At the entry to the terminal from the Palestinian car-park there is a line of 250 or more people. It takes us a few minutes to understand why the line progresses almost without pause, in a winding path, and not the usual pushing and loud shouting. As Leah has already reported, someone has appointed himself a traffic attendant in the morning. He is Ayad (in a white sweater), and he used to be the head of the Aqraba village council; he is a large man and also a big building contractor, who can afford to start his day’s work at 07:00. For about a week already, from five in the morning until seven, he has established order here, with good humor but with determination. This is an entirely private initiative. The security guards don’t speak to him and, for better or worse, he doesn’t wait to receive any response from them. When it rains he transfers the people who are waiting (mostly young) to the shed and from there they move in a winding path to the gate which leads to the turnstile. It’s a quiet morning, no one is pushing, the turnstile doesn’t close, except for a few minutes when an army vehicle passes on the inside road. Within 15 minutes the line evaporates. Regardless of the occupation – it’s good to see people who take the initiative.
The olive harvest has ended and as of today the normal opening hours return: passage through the checkpoint is on two days a week. People go through at a constant rate and relatively quickly. We don’t see anyone being turned back and that’s only because everyone who arrives shows a valid permit. All the others who would like to pass through to their lands or their families but have no permits have stayed at home.
In the photographs : Let there be light
eta and Rocheleh and an Anin inhabitant: “suddenly, from one day to the next, I am forbidden to cross at Jalama.”
The soldiers arrive five minutes ahead time; they perform their inspections near the distant gate, far from us. About 25 people and 3 tractors pass through. The inspection is quick with only a glance at their IDs.