'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked
05:35 Barta'a Riehan Checkpoint
In the upper parking lot we see fewer people than usual who have crossed through the checkpoint and are awaiting rides to work. The sleeve leading up from the terminal is also empty. In the lower parking lot, on the Palestinian side of the checkpoint, there is a huge line, unlike anything we’ve seen before. The line branches and curves all the way to the access road, and more and more people are being added to it. It turns out, as expected, than in the terminal itself only three booths are operational, and the carousel which admits people into the terminal is open only intermittently. These conditions bring back images from the recent past – many arguments and shoving near the entrance. The Palestinian guards shout at and push those waiting. Iyad, the former usher, is there and tries to help. Yesterday all six booths were working and the line flowed accordingly.
A few minutes after our arrival the carousel was opened for a relatively long period (about eight minutes), and we counted more than 200 people who made it through. A coincidence? We couldn’t say.
05.55 The carousel remained open and about 300 people passed through. We tracked a man’s progress from his arrival at 5:30 until his crossing at 6:10.
An elderly man who has a shop in Barta’a and who has a permit to cross through the Jalameh checkpoint which is quite distant from this one, requests permission to cross here, as this checkpoint is close to Barta’a. Sometimes they let him through, sometimes they don’t; it depends on the whims of the woman sitting in front of the computer….
6:20 Two young men tell us that they’re not going to bother crossing since the contractor they work for already picked up other workers in their stead.
06:32 Anin Checkpoint
The soldiers arrive at 6:38. We can hear an argument taking place at the checkpoint and there is a delay, but we can’t understand what the dispute is about and we observe two Palestinians being sent back. The crossing proceeds, the tractors pass though. Our red-headed friend prefers to ride with us to Um Reihan instead of on the back of his friend’s tractor.
07:00 Tura Shaked Checkpoint
The checkpoint opens on time but the examinations are very slow. The laborers are angry and fighting over their places in line. They’re angry at the soldiers, especially one of them, who are letting people through slowly, without reason. Sometimes there’s a ten minute break between people, which makes them late for work.
We leave at 7:25, when there are just a few people left in the line.