The main characteristic of settler-colonies in the northern part of the West Bank, founded among the ancient Palestinian villages in this area, is the absence of any religious-messianic character, and therefore Jewish terrorism on the whole does not raise its head there. Still, the complicated permit regime enforced throughout the entire Occupied Territories, naturally impacts the northern inhabitants as well: it places obstacles on their movement from site to site, to their own olive groves, to the seam zone or to nearby workplaces inside Israel, and thus constitutes a blow not only to their livelihood but to all aspects of their life.
Two large checkpoints – Barta’a-Reihan and Jalame-Gilboa – are located in the northern part of the West Bank. Both of them are used for transferring goods ‘back-to-back’ on a commercial scale from the West Bank to the seam zone (Barta’a-Reihan), and for pedestrians, especially traveling to work in Israel, or from the seam zone and Israel (such as Arab citizens of Israel) to the West Bank. The checkpoints are operated as border crossings as it were, containing checking posts for documents, electronic identification devices for persons and conveyor belts for hand luggage, under the supervision of civilian security guards.
Two of the agricultural checkpoints (‘gates’ in the army’s lingo) – Tayibe-Roumana and Anin – serve Palestinian farmers whom the Separation Barrier has distanced from their own vineyards and olive groves, and as in all of the agricultural checkpoints of the seam zone, they are allowed to use them only in keeping with the army’s instructions.
As early as 2016 we reported holes opened in the Separation Fence close to the northern checkpoints or at some distance from them. In fact, such holes have always existed along the fence, all the way from the northern West Bank (Jalame) to the southern part (South Hebron Hills), and thousands of Palestinians crossed through them every day in order to work inside Israel, at least since then until 2020. Free passage through these holes in the fence places a great question mark over the necessity of checkpoints for Israel’s security. Needless to point out, this situation could change overnight as a result of the Israeli army’s decision.
Fashion police at the service of the occupation
Once in a while, an initiative is taken to locate Palestinians trying to cross checkpoints “on unjustified grounds”, as the occupation forces put it. A trick popular among Military Police personnel is to confront passersby about their clothing.
Policeman A.: Where to?
Palestinian farmer A.: To work in my olive grove.
Policeman A.: With such fancy clothes, you’re going to work as a farmer? Go home.
Policeman B.: Where to?
Palestinian farmer B.: Work my olive grove.
Policeman B.: Empty your pockets!
Palestinian farmer B. empties his pockets.
Policeman B.: What do you need your phone charger for, got an electric outlet among your olive trees? And money? Go home.
Ya’abad-Dotan checkpoint, located on the Ya’abad-Jenin junction (road 858), Usually this checkpoint is unmanned, and large concrete blocs force drivers to slow down and zigzag carefully between them. On a nearby hill sits settler-colony Mevo Dotan.
Hermesh An unmanned Cekpoint, opposite settler-colony Hermesh.
Baq’a checkpoint (road 574) located on the Separation Wall adjacent to the town of Western Baq’a al Gharbiya.
Tura-Shaked checkpoint is defined as a ‘fabric of life’ checkpoint, located on the route connecting the West Bank and the seam zone. In spite of its definition, promising humanitarian consideration, it is meant to close off traffic instantly between the eastern part of the West Bank and its western part, pending on security needs. It is used mainly by students, school children, Palestinians working in Jenin, as well as inhabitants of Toura village on their way to work in the nearby industrial zone of Shahak.