6:20 - Barta'a-Reihan Checkpoint
On the side, there are many workers waiting for rides. We travel to the Palestinian side and they lift the arm of the vehicle checkpoint for us, asking who we are. All right-- we pass to the Palestinian parking lot and park in a long row on the sides of the road. To our surprise, there is still a very long line of workers at this hour and people continue to arrive and wait. There is no recognizable movement in the construction of the place and because of the fence that surrounds the construction, there is only one turnstile left for the entrance and exit from the terminal. The passage of a single person from the Seamline Zone to the West Bank delays the entire line. Around 07:00 the situation gets better and the line gets shorter.
A few days ago, Karine L. met with the ecumenical volunteers, EAPPI Volunteers, and they told her about the especially slow passage at Baqa Checkpoint. We decided to travel there and so as not to arrive too late, we gave up on observing Tura Checkpoint. Therefore we lost the chance to see the electricity line that arrived yesterday at the village of Daher Al Malek.
Baqa Checkpoint, Gate 526
This checkpoint is a “fabric of life” point that is supposed to help especially, the residents of Nezlat Isa, a small village that the fence cuts into two parts. One part is on the eastern side of the fence, and most of the people of the village live there. About 10 homes were left on the western side of the fence-- Baqa West/Israel--a distance of a number of meters from the eastern side, but compelling people from Nezlat Isa to pass via the checkpoint during the hours that it is open and if they have the appropriate permit. It looks like this checkpoint is actually an “unstitched life”; the fabric of life becomes unstitched, and instead of helping the residents of Nezlat Isa who need the checkpoint, it robs them of their time.
The checkpoint was opened at 06:00 and only about 150 people pass through. When we arrived, about an hour and a half after the opening, there were still about 40 people waiting to pass to Israel. The passage was especially slow; people entered the inspection booth in three’s and leave one at a time. When they open the vehicle checkpoint in order to pass over several sacks of vegetables by pitchfork to the counter on the side of the neglected parking lot, the pedestrian traffic was stopped. Those who passed through are residents of Nezlat Isa and Baqa al Sharqiya (on the east) who work in agriculture and also at the aluminum factory that is attached to the homes of Nezlat Isa, which is attached to the Israeli Baqa.
A soldier in the guard tower tries to forbid our presence in the place. When he failed in this task, he says that if something happens to us, it will be our responsibility. OK.
08:40- There are still 3 people waiting to pass through. They wait patiently because they are dependent on this checkpoint for their livelihood. Luckily, we are free to leave.