Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
Checkpoints: “It's good that we are checking; don’t ask questions, good for you Tsahal.” (Anin Checkpoint, where three tractors are delayed for 3 full hours) – “What works, works and what does not work doesn’t.” (Security guard at Barta’a Checkpoint, on the fact that only one inspection machine –out of 4--is working.) But we also meet a security guard who admires and respects us. (Barta’a Vehicle Checkpoint)
Anin Checkpoint, 14:50
Only a few cars and tractors wait in front of the gate to the Palestinian village. One of the tractor operators tells us that he worked for 25 years as a painter in Israel. Next year he will be 55 and eligible to work in Israel without a permit. He tells us about five young men who were not permitted to go to work in the morning because the clothes they were wearing were too nice for someone who claims he is going to work in the olive grove. “The Fashion Police” is back!
The soldiers arrive on time and open the gates. Three tractors and their owners are detained. The tractors are in the middle of the checkpoint close to the gate in the direction of the village, and the farmers are close to the gate of the seamline zone. Two soldiers are guarding them and two others, with their faces covered, are busy with the tractors, photographing them with their cell phones and obviously sending the photos to someone. Among those delayed, we recognize M. He signals us with his hands that he doesn’t understand what is happening. We also do not understand. The soldiers don’t speak with us. M. apologizes that he took up our time. He asks the soldier for water and receives it. From the system road comes an additional army vehicle. When it passes the gate, we ask what is going on and we are privileged to get the answer, “It's good that we are checking. Don’t ask questions; good for you, Tsahal”.
16:00 – Those who are delayed and the tractors are released on their way. Four of the soldiers close the gates and go off. They don’t say a word.
Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian Side, 16:10
The parking lots are completely full. On the side of the road the cars are double-parked. People return from work and go home. It is crowded, chaotic, and not safe. On the way to the next checkpoint, we see that also on the side of the bridge opposite Zabdey, there are cars parked on both sides.
Ya’bed – Mevo Dotan Checkpoint, 16:40
The checkpoint has been built up. Around the guard tower there is a new white building (See photo). The checkpoint is manned. The traffic at present is in the direction of Ya’bed and Jenin. They are returning from work. Cars are stopped and checked quickly, but in any case, a line of 10 cars is created.
Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint, 17:00
We go up to the upper parking lot of the checkpoint (the seamline zone) and our car is inspected. The soldier tells us that he admires and respects us and that we should continue to do what we think is right. Very nice and surprising. Many workers return from work at this hour. Only one in four permit inspection machines is working. It is lucky that many of those passing through don’t need to be inspected. Even so a crowded line is created beside us. We tell the security guard at the terminal that it is very crowded next to the one machine. He answers, “It’s OK. What works, works, and what does not work, doesn’t.” In the upper parking lot, a young man from Ya’bed stops us. He is married to a woman from West Barta’a (Israeli citizen) and the father of four daughters. He has a permit to work in Israel but he doesn’t have a permit for beyond Barta’a Checkpoint, something that makes a visit to his wife and daughters on Saturdays impossible. We did not know how to help him.
Tura-Shaked Checkpoint, 17:45
Single vehicles and several people pass through to the seamline zone.
18:00 – On our way home an elderly woman signals us to stop. We think that she wants a ride, but no, she lives nearby. The woman harvested wild fennel and gives us a refreshing, aromatic wreath. We thank her happily and travel home.