Drivers at Barta`a c.p: Let us make a living! enough with the wars!
14:00 Toura-Shaked Checkpoint
As usual at this checkpoint at this time of day – traffic is sparse. Three cars went through to the seam-line zone, a donkey cart with three people on its way to the West Bank, and several people coming from the lone house (separated from the Palestinian village of Toura by the Separation Fence).
15:30 Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint. Palestinian side
The car park was full, and so were the parking lots up the road east of the checkpoint. Many private vehicles are parked by the roadside, including taxis waiting for passengers on their back from work inside Israel and the seam-line zone. A Palestinian guard and usher, dressed in a warm winter jacket with a fur collar (it’s a hot day, 37 degrees centigrade!) says to us in Hebrew, “this is our uniform”. In the morning three of these ushers were working, and now (afternoon) one of them is left, selling parking stubs as well, at the price of 5 shekels a day. He and others tell us that for the last ten days everything has been fine, and the passage in the checkpoint mornings has been quick (too bad this “fine” includes a checkpoint located inside the Palestinian area). In the shed is a snack stand, and outside another two. The owner of one of them says he has a café in Ya’abad village, but between noon and the afternoon, it is more lucrative running the stand here. Next to the stand are several drivers. They begin with a complaint about the deep ditches in the road at the Ya’abad-Dotan Checkpoint, and end with astatement, “The drivers at Barta’a Checkpoint demand to be allowed to work in peace and quiet. Each has a family to support. Enough with these wars!” At their request I wrote this down verbatim. They wished to be photographed and publicize their statement.
On our way to the car we met people working as house painters at Harish who ask us where we’re from. To our answer that we come from Haifa, one of them responds, saying he used to work in Haifa, in the Danya neighborhood, and wishes that their village were as beautiful as Haifa is.
16:20 Baq’a Checkpoint (gate 526)
We have not monitored this checkpoint for a long time. In the meantime, chemical latrines have been placed there by “Motzaot” company. Several youngsters and an elderly man arrive at the checkpoint, walking on the sidewalk and crossing at the pedestrian crossing leading to the inspection bungalow. The youngsters are residents of Nizlat Issa on the Palestinian side, and work in Western Baq’a, on the Israeli side.
16:40 We return to our car, parked where – until the Separation Fence was erected between Western and Eastern Baq’a – a bustling market used to be. Now there is only a single vegetable stand here.