Barta'a checkpoint: cheaper and faster to cross a breach in the fence
15:30 – Tura Checkpoint
We traveled on the new lane to the lone house that belongs to a family from the village of Tura, but was cut off from the village and now remains in the Seam Zone. The lane branches off from the road next to the checkpoint. It is paved with kurkar, a type of sandstone, financing by the Tura Council, the Palestinian Authority, or the Liaison and Coordination Administration (there are several versions). It received this kurkar as surplus from the expansion of the settlement of Shaked. To our surprise, the house actually borders the settlement’s fence.
At the checkpoint, workers cross from the Seamline Zone to home in the West Bank; a car with passengers returns from the market in Jenin; a worker leaves the settlement of Reihan to work a second shift; three young boys from Daher El Malec leave to work in charcoal packaging in Ya’bed and a young boy who leaves to enjoy himself in Ya’bed, joins them.
16:30 – Barta’a Checkpoint
A convoy of contractors’ cars returns workers to the checkpoint – hundreds of them –most returning from work in Israel. Tomorrow is Friday and most don’t work. Therefore, today they return with packages of purchases, and they also stop at the settler kiosk, which is stocked with supplies of rugalach for Shabbat.
Because of the large number of returning workers, an additional carrusel to West Bank has been installed.
We met a Palestinian resident of a village next to Jenin. He has a permit to cross to Israel at the Jalama checkpoint (Gilboa) next to Emek Jezreel, but he works in Natanya, which is closer to Barta’a Checkpoint. Therefore every day he crosses through the closest breach in the fence to the upper parking lot of the Barta’a checkpoint, and there his employer waits to take him to work. The breach saves him a lot of time, expensive gasoline, and money.
The passage for residents of Barta’a, who return from Jenin via the terminal and roofed sleeve (the enclosed passage to the terminal), is closed on summer afternoons. In the severe heat, they have to go up the road that is exposed to the sun, via the vehicle checkpoint, to the upper parking lot in the Seamline Zone.