'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked

Tzafrira Zamir, Neta Golan, (Reporting). Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

15:10 – A’anin Checkpoint

Eight men, three women, two boys, and a girl were waiting, as well as a donkey carrying one of the children. The soldiers from the military police arrived a bit late, opened the gatesinfo-icon and started to keep order. People began crossing in groups of three: one showed documents while the other two waited a short distance away. The tractor drivers were checked and drove their tractors through. Our friend M. was not present. Evidently, his agricultural permit had not yet been renewed.

We took a hitchhiker to the Barta’a checkpoint. He told us that a permit to work in Israel cost 2500 Nis a month: 1700 NIS is paid to the employment office and the rest goes to the employer. The money paid to the employment office is transferred to the Palestinian Authority, to pay for compensation and other expenses. The Palestinian Authority takes 20% of the amount and it is not clear for what purpose. Travel expenses are also high: it costs NIS 60 each day to travel from the checkpoint to Jenin, and from Jenin to the village where he lives. This leaves about NIS 4000 to live on. Working in Israel is worthwhile for professionals, who earn about NIS 10,000 a month, while laborers earn anywhere from NIS 6000 to 7000 per month, and they end up with little money. He works at remodeling houses and does OK. He feels that, despite everything, the Palestinians are better off than people in the surrounding Arab countries. He points out the new expensive cars in the parking lot at Barta’a Checkpoint as testimony. He has three children who study at the university, and he is proud of them and of their professional future. He feels that they would not have done so well anywhere else, which is sad.

15:45 – Reihan – Barta’a Checkpoint, Palestinian Side

An enterprising person has opened a booth near one of the auxiliary parking lots and is selling clothing, beverages, and snacks.

The regular parking lot was not crowded, and people were returning to the West Bank through the new area. A green arrow indicated that four lanes were open to exit the terminal. A police car arrived with its siren wailing loudly. The green arrows changed to red Xs, the gates to the security road opened, and people stopped moving. By the time the police car left and the lanes opened again a long line had formed on the side of the terminal, which disappeared quickly when crossing resumed.

 16:10 – When we left the checkpoint we were sent from the vehicle checkpoint to a red X marked on the road next to the well-kept traffic circle. A security guard did not ask for our documents but claimed that we were taking pictures and that it was forbidden to photograph a security facility. We had not taken our phones out at all.

 16:30 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint

There is not much vehicle and pedestrian traffic in both directions. The area on the sides of the road is filled with litter and plastic bags that are an ecological eyesore.