Tura checkpoint: requesting family reunification
We passed by Barta’a checkpoints. The car parks up the road to Zabda are empty, unclear why. No one is working there. Several cars manage somehow to park below the village of Zabda. Lines of cars on the roadside stretch from where there is no longer a ‘no parking’ color and all the way to 1.2 kilometers from the entrance to the car park on the Palestinian side of the checkpoints.
15:40 Ya’abad-Dotan checkpoints
Below the watchtower pillbox between Amriha village and the checkpoint stands a soldier with a pointed gun. At the checkpoints itself, cars move in both directions. Raggedy flags hang on the watchtower and the memorial below.
15:50 Hermesh checkpoints
The gate on the road to Hermesh is wide open and traffic flows unhampered.
16:00 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint on the seam zone side
We had no wish to crowd into the filled car-park on the Palestinian side of the checkpoint, not to park on the roadside about a kilometer away. We go over to the seam zone side. A structure has been built in the waiting shed, its windows shut, and we have no idea what it’s for. The prayer rugs are not laid on the shed floor. Their owners pick them up and fold them, put them on the side or take them as they go. A group of white-shirted Palestinian waiters await their transport to a wedding in Wadi Aara.
A black-clad beggar woman wreaks out her livelihood at the corner of the shed. We descend in the sleeve (a roofed and fenced-in track) along with the crowds of workers going home from work at this time. Among them are several women. Few cross over in the opposite direction – into the seam zone and into Israel, among them more waiters in white shirts. We notice a few women and children who do not cross over to the seam zone inside the sleeve, but make their way on foot through the vehicle lane. We do not know who is entitled to do this. One man waits for us to tell about his brother, blacklisted from entering Israel. We give him Sylvia’s card and wish him luck. Several young men short-cut their crossing by jumping over the fence closing on the ‘sleeve’.
16:40 Toura-Shaked checkpoint
We reach the checkpoint after inching our way in the line of cars that carry back Palestinian workers and then make their way back to Israel. Traffic moves in both directions at the checkpoint. Someone says that this morning it was opened at a quarter to seven. Another crossed over at Barta’a checkpoint this morning. A woman bearing packages crosses over into the seam zone, awaiting a ride. Three women wearing beautiful dresses cross over into the West Bank. A wedding, perhaps? A woman arrives carrying a rather big girl, another girl on a scooter and another boy simply walking… The woman sends us a friendly smile in spite of the heavy girl she carries.
We wish to leave, when a man approaches us asking for help or advice. His wife is an Israeli citizen living with their children live in Nazareth, and he cannot be with them. Unfortunately we cannot help, only show our understanding of his dire situation that Israel prevents from solving every time anew.