Update during Corona: Barta'a checkpoint: between the Purim holiday closure and the Corona plague

Neta Golan

Roni Sh. and I planned to go on our usual shift on Wednesday, March 11, but canceled after the Palestinian Authority asked to avoid entering the West Bank following the spreading Coronavirus.

Barta’a Checkpoint March 9 – Purim Closureinfo-icon

I had the opportunity to drive a Palestinian family, a charming toddler and her young parents, from Haifa’s Rambam hospital to the Barta’a checkpoint. They live in Dan village, very close to Jenin and the Jalame Checkpoint which was closed because of the Purim closure. They did not know of this ahead of time and left home in the morning to reach Jalame Checkpoint. After a long wait and telephone calls to the “On the Way to Healing” association that coordinates drives to hospital and back, they realized that the checkpoint would not open, and had to reach the Barta’a checkpoint. They said crossing it was swift.

On the way I thought of hopping over to Anin Checkpoint to pass an envelope over to a Palestinian, but did not end up doing so for lack of time – I reached the Barta’a checkpoint as Anin checkpoint was already closing, and at Barta’a a father and his 10-year old son were already waiting for me, who had to reach Rambam hospital for a complicated orthopedic surgery on the boy. The two live in a village “in the middle”, as the father said, and it is all the same for them whether they cross at Jalame or at Barta’a. The family is originally from Haifa, and now is dispersed between Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon. He has a restaurant in Jenin. Before the Separation Fence was erected, he worked at the Hazan Shawarma place in Haifa, a famous culinary establishment. He think peace between the two peoples is no difficult matter, the problem is only that their own and our own political leaders stand in the way…

At other times, very busy traffic of workers and their transport drivers is seen here. But during closure, all is quiet. Very few people descend the netted “sleeveinfo-icon” towards the terminal on their way to the West bank. Apparently only those working in Barta’a were there. Few vehicles waited in the car-park on the seam-line zone side. The car-parks on the hill opposite the checkpoint looked deserted.

Wednesday – March 11 – Anin checkpoint under Purim closure – report by phone

After reading Micki’s phone report of March 10, that the Far’oun Agricultural Checkpoint was not opened on Purim Day, I called our acquaintance M. from Anin village, to find out what was going on. He told me the checkpoint was not opened either on Monday or today, Wednesday. He said no one notified them about this, and people went down to the checkpoint in the morning and waited in vain. In all the years that I remember, the checkpoint had opened on its regular opening days, even during closure. M. did not fail to wish me a happy holiday and good health…