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

Tammy R. (Photographs) and Neta G. (Reporting), Marcia L., Translation
מחסום ברטעה: קישוטים של הכיבוש
Tami Ritov

Fruits and blooms at Barta’a Checkpoint – Theater of the Absurd

The parking lot is not yet full and there is no line. When they close the turnstile for a minute for whatever reason, a line forms immediately.  The builders of the city of Harish stream to work in huge numbers. The Palestinian attendant keeps the order with much success. A young man sells coffee. He doesn’t have many clients. Someone asks what are we doing there so early in the morning.

06:10 – Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint, The Seamline Zone side
The small, new waiting shelter, with climbing blossoms (bougainvillea), gives pleasure to those waiting for rides to work.  Roses bloom across the fence of the sleeveinfo-icon (fenced-in passage to and from the checkpoint) that leads to the terminal. Clementines and pomelos are on the other side. The Occupation blooms and it is happy here at the checkpoint. The Harmish settler’s snack bar, in the middle of the sleeve, prospers.  The Palestinian coffee seller in the parking lot, with a thermos and gas container, cannot compete with the aroma of a cappuccino and fresh pastries.

Seven inspection windows are open in the terminal. We meet people whom we have seen previously, waiting in line on the Palestinian side.

06:40 – Anin Checkpoint
The gatesinfo-icon of the checkpoint are open. The soldiers appear to be alert, weapons drawn in their hands. The first of the Palestinians passes. After him, about 130 people, 5 women, 6 tractors and 2 mules pass at a slow pace,.  The older woman, whose olives are far down on her back, stands opposite the checkpoint but doesn’t pass through.  A young relative, who helps her, passes through with a mule and equipment for the olive harvest.  One of our older acquaintances says in a conciliatory manner that “the soldiers work slowly, what can you do, they are children” Another complains that he always receives a new permit to pass through for two years, but this time they renewed it for only 3 months, until the end of December.

07:30 – The soldiers lock the gates of the checkpoint.  Two female children, from the Bedouin village beneath the checkpoint, wait for transportation to school in Umm-a-Reihan.

07:40 – Tura-Shaked Checkpoint
Additional electric posts have been installed along the road that leads to the checkpoint.

People still wait in front of the turnstile at the entrance to the checkpoint that leads from the West Bank. They tell us that the checkpoint was open on time, at 06:30.  A car from the Liaison and Coordination Administration stops next to us. The commander identifies us as “Women Watch”.  We ask why on Thursdays they open only at 07:00, as they do on Fridays and Saturdays.  He answers that he doesn’t know about the problem, but he will look into it.

08:00 – We leave.  The “regular” routine of the checkpoints is depressing.