Northern Checkpoints: Autumn is approaching, but no sign of the end of the occupation
15:15 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint
As usual, it is very quiet here and the checkpoint is almost empty and very dirty. A few cars crossed to the West Bank. A resident of Um Reihan was waiting for his daughter who works as a secretary in Jenin. The man, who was rather elderly, was dressed in a gleaming white Jalabiyyeh. HE has just returned from a stay in Saudi Arabia where he had been working. His son, who is married and has a baby, is still their working as an engineer.
A military police car drives quickly into the checkpoint with its siren sounding loudly. Its passengers shouted something like: “What are you doing here?” at us.
We drove past Barta’a Checkpoint. The parking lot and sides of the road were filled with cars. We haven’t seen anything like this for a long time. We continued on to Hermesh Checkpoint, which was not manned. We continued to F.’s grocery store in Emricha where we were warmly received. The store is developing and they are now selling school supplies such as notebooks, paints, and school bags. One of the customers told us that he was forbidden from entering Israel and we gave him a card with Sylvia’s contact information and wished him luck.
Yaabed – Hermesh Checkpoint was also not manned and traffic was moving freely in both directions, except for the concrete roadblocks that still slowed it down.
We again note the gates that are closed blocking the road to Yaabed from Derech HaMelech to Jenin and the two sides of the “bridge” opposite Zbeida that are locked. The fact that the shortcuts are closed forces Palestinian drivers in the area to drive much farther.
16:15 – Barta’a – Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian Side
On Thursday afternoons many people are returning from work and going to their cars or transport vehicles. The Palestinian attendants are still there, but are not particularly busy. The sides of the road are emptying of cars and the parking lot is less crowded. Two prayer rugs were spread between the crossing shed in the parking lot and the restrooms. One person was praying. Some people were attempting to make a living here such as a boy selling coffee and people selling telephones, fruit, and beverages. Almost no one was going to the seamline zone at this hour and we saw almost no women.
16:45 – We returned to our car and decided to drive through the city of Harish to avoid the long line of cars that transport workers that were returning to Israel.
It was not too hot today. We saw squills in Wadi Ara and autumn is approaching, as well as the elections. There was, however, no sign of the end of the occupation. Brand new lampposts were standing alongside the road to the settlements of Mevo Dotan and Hermesh as is to proclaim: “We are here.” This was strengthened by the announcements for building and selling new houses in the settlement of Reihan in the seamline zone and Mevo Dotan which is on the other side of the separation barrier. This is not a good sign.